Sea Christmas

This is the wrong Christmas
in the right place: mistletoe
water there is no kissing
under; the soused holly

of the wrack, and birds coming
to the bird-table with
no red on their breast. All
night it has snowed

foam on the splintering
beaches, but the dawn-
wind carries it away, load
after load, and look,

the sand at the year’s
solstice is young flesh
on a green crib, product
of an immaculate conception.

by R.S. Thomas (1913-2000).

2 Responses to “Sea Christmas”

  1. Beautifully composed!

  2. I don’t know when he wrote this poem, but R. S. Thomas must have written it when he lived in Aberdaron at the end of the Llŷn Peninsula.

    I usually spend Christmas on the coast in northwest Wales, and last year was my first ever Christmas with snow on the ground. Winters on the Welsh coast are often grey, windy and fairly wet. They feel rather cold because of the biting wind, but snow is quite rare, and snow as early as Christmas is very rare indeed. Seaweed, particularly bladder wrack, is washed up on the beaches and gales blow foam from the waves on to the sand. Around the beaches is the green grass of headlands and fields.

    I recognise the scenes in the poem.

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