“Snow had fallen
Snow on snow.”
Christina Rossetti – In the Bleak Midwinter
Snow on Snow
The Christmas poem has been written!
After a lot of thinking and a couple of drafts, I’ve finally written something that I’m happy with. It will be with you between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. (A Happy Christmas Eve Eve Eve, by the way. I think the Christmassy is finally starting to set in.)
I didn’t keep you updated on my Christmas poem progress, because, honestly, I had nothing to share. The most exciting development has been that the poem was written and finished. But now is a good time to share some drafts and ideas behind the poem with you before I post it, and also to fill you in on what’s to come on this blog in the lead up to New Year.
‘Drafts’ might imply that the finished poem reflects them, or that they show a stage in development to the final piece. But honestly, the final piece is different to these drafts, which it might be more appropriate to call ‘previous attempts’. Below I’ve shared and discussed some ‘previous attempts’, in what is probably my first time ever sharing, to anybody, poems that I would never intend to be seen or published.
Christmas – Poem Construction (implying I was hoping to go back and build on this one, but that didn’t happen)
We fall in love at Christmastime,
But I spend it away from you.
We tick off time on a calendar,
Snowblanked days to get through.
There will definitely be the emergence of bittersweet themes throughout the drafts and the ultimate poem, and the idea of snow is one that I was keen to use. ‘Snowblanked’ is something I’m really fond of (it’s very possible it made it into the finished piece), and is inspired by Andrew McMillan’s physical, where he regularly combines words in order to avoid the use of hyphens (since he uses no punctuation). It’s possible I abandoned this because I didn’t know where it was going, or because of the rhyming structure, which feels a little too traditional. It’s often a good place to start, having a structure like that, but I try and deviate from it if I can.
Christmas – wip (work in progress)
You turn away from me in the snow,
I didn’t expect you to go home.
The statue you brought with you,
Sitting on our windowsill,
That’s as far as I got with that one. I can’t remember where the idea of the statue came from (I’d been reading Lovecraft around that time, but I doubt I’d thought it was Cthulhu), but here we see the idea of snow appearing again.
Surprisingly – those are the only two previous drafts I have. I feel like I thought about the poem more than attempting to write lots of different versions. The finished piece is called ‘Christmas Eve’, and was partially inspired by December 25th by Everything But the Girl (you can listen to it below). There was a line in that which particularly stuck with me. It also reflected the sort of themes I was keen to include; a moment of relatable, sad emotion, wrapped up in a Christmassy image. I was quite keen to reflect Christmas songs more than Christmas poetry, and many of my favourite Christmas songs stem from that sort of idea. (Christmas Lights by Coldplay, or All I Want for Christmas is New Year’s Day by Hurts are two examples of this.)
Ultimately, though, I feel like my final poem is relatively upbeat. There is a tinge of sadness, but a fair amount of optimism. It’s not quite what I intended, but unless I have a brainwave, I shall be posting ‘Christmas Eve’ for you all to see very soon.
(& Things to Come)
There’s a few things coming up on the blog over the next week or so.
I’ll be redesigning the blog (or at least, the header image) for the New Year, and you can see a mini teaser of that below:
In addition to that, and the “release” of my Christmas poem, I’ll be writing a recap of the year; some of the books I’ve read, some of the things I’ve written and talked about. This will be up sometime before New Year’s Day, I would imagine, so prepare to get nostalgic.
You can listen to ’25th December’ here, and I shall see you soon for my Christmas poem.