Poem 156 – Twelfth Night

Tonight come tear the tinsel down
Twelfth Night is nigh, now is the time
The curtain call, the climax of
Our festive feast, is finally here

The cards are crumpled, cast aside
The lights are loosed and limply tossed
With cardboard characters created through time
On toilet roll tubes with cotton wool tufts

Stripped bare to the bark, its boughs devoid
Our tree is trashed and turned outside
Its baubles boxed and banished upstairs
The house is harrowed, hoovered throughout

No food to feed the family remains
Instead our stomachs stretch our waists
And prick and prompt our pilgrimage
To push and pull and pound at the gym

This fullstop flung confounds our fun
Its hangover hangs and haunts our heads
As Winter’s waves unwelcomed wash
And dark descends and dampens dreams

The house seems strangely bare today…
This is a rewrite of yesterday’s annoyingly twee effort. Switching to alliterative verse gave it back its bite.

© Ben Quant 2023

Poem 155 – Four Candles

Sunday we’ll light four candles,
Our perennial joke,
Anticipated for weeks.
Someone will shout ‘nah, fork ‘andles’*
And we’ll laugh. Again.
It’s strangely fitting. Back then
No one saw it coming.
Now we hold our breath and
Open doors until Christ’s
Born; God’s Son, the perfect
Joke who laughs with us
Divine anticipation.

In the church calendar, this Sunday is Two Ronnies Day, or at least it is in my head (*If you don’t get the joke, you’d better watch this: https://youtu.be/CNTM9iM1eVw). The following Sunday is Christmas Day, the day when God caught everyone by surprise.

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 145- (This is) Our Christmas Song

It’s the season of Advent (in the church calendar, this starts four Sundays before Christmas, not on the 1st Dec.), and so to celebrate I’ve finally organised a proper domain name for this site (www.odefortheday.art) and written a Christmas carol:

Verse 1:
What did it mean for you our holy king
To put on human flesh and leave
Casting aside eternal dreams
To be born the son of Mary

Verse 2:
Experience our hopes and fears
Share in our sorrow, our sufferings
Embrace the passing of the years
To be born the son of Mary

And so we sing, our Christmas song
Our praises ring, all season long
For the Son of God has come to us
Immanuel, now one of us
Yes this is, our Christmas song!

Verse 3:
You came obedient to the end
To a manger bare in Bethlehem
The gift of God by Father sent
To be born the son of Mary

Verse 4:
An invitation in your hand
Offering the chance to begin again
Sing out the news across the land
About the son of Mary

And so we sing, our Christmas song
Our praises ring, all season long
For the Son of God has come to us
Immanuel, now one of us
Yes this is, our Christmas song!

This is a first draft, no doubt it will evolve, but it was fun trying something a little different to a straight poem. It came about as a result of a challenge to write a Christmas song that sticks to the original story without too many cliches.

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 62 – The Morning After

There is no cordon around the house to warn
Nor grim faced officer to bar our way
But on the inside awaits a grisly scene
Come in and see the evidence arrayed

This is the room where the events transpired
Remains of celebrations on the floor
The shredded tatters form outlines around
The places where their bodies sat that morn

Now see upon the table evidence
Identified and ready to photograph
Betraying crumbs a trail perhaps to follow
Wine glasses marked by lips that last night laughed

Then out the back you’ll find their bins all full
Of waste unwanted, clues of what has been
And deep within the usual trash concealed
A cold carcass, discarded, bones picked clean

Back in again to question the witness
Who yawning talks us through the scene at hand
Identifying gifts and turkey bones
Such evidence echoed across the land

The morning after Christmas you could work out from the wreckage where everyone sat to open their gifts, reminding me of the white outlines marking where the body laid in police dramas…

© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 58 – Service Update

Poetic delays
Caused by congestion ahead
Expect disruption

Discovering right now that writing daily poems and running a church during Advent and preparing for a viva, is a little too much. Normal service will be resumed in due course…

© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 53 – The Word on the Street (Pt.2)

The word on the street is a miracle
Powerful to transform and inform us
But despite this remarkable talent
It’s imprecise and prone to accident,
Misinterpretation and confusion
That is why when God communicated
It wasn’t through email, text or post but
Gift wrapped in human form, relatable
His Son became flesh and dwelt among us
Born in a manger, the Word on the street

Words are wonderful things. When you think what they are, just abstract sounds or marks on the page, it’s astonishing that they work at all, but they do and in stunning and moving ways. But they’re not perfect, we’ve all experienced miscommunication when we thought what we said made sense and was clear… Perhaps that’s one of the reasons for Christmas.

© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 48 – An Omicron Christmas

Uncertainty brings bitterness and breeds
This mental hesitation, leading us
To hover over plans and pause before
We press the button and maybe withdraw
Brand new unknowns confuse and cause unease
When experts disagree in their response
Are parties on or off this Christmas season
To hold or not to hold that is the question

Listening to the news tonight various experts were asked if Christmas gatherings should be cancelled. There was not agreement…


© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 46 – Advent One

And so the Advent season starts once more
The annual wait for Jesus Christ our hope
To come in human form, the Word made flesh
Mysterious, incarnate, God with us
This year our yearning seems more keenly felt
A weary longing seeking something more
After two years of such disrupted life
Lived greyscale not in technicolour bright
With generations past and yet to come
We cry with one voice come Lord Jesus come

Today we lit the first candle in our Advent wreath and began our seasonal wait for the coming of Jesus. Like yesterday’s poem, this is an experiment with iambic pentameter, not my natural voice, but something I’d like to work on.


© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 45 – Christmas Lights

They rolled the dice to choose a date to hold
November’s fayre a gamble keenly made
Who was to know this day from north to south
A fearsome wind would tear and whip and howl
Our volunteers take hold with all their strength
To stop gazebos chasing down the street
Cold visitors won’t stop but briskly pass
Their faces pale blood drained by biting teeth
The dark descends stall keepers packing up
Warm homes like sirens luring their farewell
The show may stutter, not what we had planned
But as I leave illuminated trees
Stand sparkling proudly ‘cross my cycle’s path
Not shivering nor shaking, standing strong
A testament to that first Christmas birth
Their light the darkness cannot overcome

Today our Churches Together group joined other organisations at the local town Christmas Fayre. Unfortunately, today was the day that Storm Arwen decided to blow, making the event a bit of an endurance test…


© Ben Quant 2021