Tuesday 1 December 2020

Betjeman in Coronatide

The tills in Marks and Sparks are quiet
James Dalrymple is running riot
We hang the lights up on the roof
To shout this loud and lasting truth
That though the times are wearing grim
We still won't let the virus win.

The early reindeer  on the lawn
And round the bungalow the strings
of fairy lights in many colours
and many flashing, tasteless things
mean that the passers-by will say
“We're glad you did” on Christmas day.

The Coca-Cola ad is stilled
retailers face a grim new year
the top toys though will still sell out
cos Amazon still gets about
and people say the Pogues are haggard
and try to find a rhyme for "maggot".

And no-one's flying out to Spain
We're stuck here in the Advent rain
And no-one's going down the pub
Unless they eat some token grub.
Instead we order online beer
To generate some FaceTime cheer.

We try to rank our family near
Which granny do we hold most dear?
But hugging granny's not so wise
This weird, unfair Coronatide.
Though Laurence Fox might act quite brave
Please don't help grandad to the grave.

But is it true, can it be true
This most unlikely tale of all,
As Brexit looms through Advent mists
A baby in an ox's stall?
But is it true? That ancient tale?
I'll have to check with Ian Paul.

And is it true? For if it is
No virtual drinks upon the screen
No social-distanced carollers
Around the empty village green
No massive fight about the right
To eat Scotch eggs on Christmas night
No DPD upon the drive
No PS5 that won't arrive
No Xmas rat-run thanks to Waze
Can ever this great Truth erase –
Our God was born to share our pain,
And so this Advent does again.

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