Bright, a poem written by Stuart A. Paterson at
Pure Julia


written by: Stuart A. Paterson



You’re building another Christmas for one,
decorating the present with sparkly
lights & glitter, a long line of cards hung
over the mantelpiece, none from Barclay.

Here is your grotto of now, aflame
defiantly, yet still the old eyes mist
at each card opened, addressed to one name
only, Mima, white space replacing his.

He was the ghost of most Christmases past –
Marley in the corner, grumpy, moaning
how early it was, his presents opened last,
rolling fags,* drinking coffee, alone in

his own slowly wakening world, bagging
the paper; socks, chocs, hankies, slippers piled
beneath his chair, soon tired of trying, flagging,
giving into sleep for just a little while.

I know he was happy in his own grudged
manless way, this being never more clear
than when he’d declared it over, had judged
That’ll be it done for another year.

Then suddenly it was, for all the years
after, that great, unbearable divide.
I see you in light, you who are still here,
ablaze in the ever-shortening nights.


*  Fags – cigarettes

Stuart A. Paterson

Stuart A. Paterson

One of Scotland’s best-known poets of the last 30 years, Stuart has received many national awards & was voted 2020 ‘Scots Language Writer of the Year'. From 2017-18 he was BBC Scotland Poet in Residence & in 2019 was official visiting poet to Rhodes University & St Andrew's College in Grahamstown, Republic of South Africa. Stuart writes much in his native Scots Language - his 2020 volume ‘A Squatter o Bairnrhymes’ was the first large and much-acclaimed volume of original poems in Scots for children in decades.
Stuart A. Paterson

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This publication is part 64 of 70 in the series 12 Days of Christmas