Pink and blue and soft gold
With a creamy white half moon
High in the clear sky.
Steam drifts up from the roofs of buildings across the city,
The only movement outside in the early cold.
A chickadee calls from a tree nearby
Into the silence.
Slowly, one by one, the children stir,
Their anticipation quickens,
Pressing up against the widows and doors,
Seeping through the cracks and
Spilling out onto the snowy lawns and streets.
Paper and wrappings and ribbons crinkle,
Soft at first,
Then louder as excitement builds.
Gasps punctuate the morning air
As favourite new toys rattle and pop
And new clothes are thrown on over old.
For an instant, time stands still,
Smiles sharpen, converge,
And everyone breathes as one in this moment.
A sudden noise then –
Perhaps a train or a pop gun or a jack-in-the-box –
and time speeds up again
While the colours brighten.
An icy wind whistles under doors and through cracks
A high, keening chorus;
Singing through the mid-day lull.
As the sun completes it’s low arc overhead,
The dinner guests begin to arrive
In gusts of glistening snow.
Their cheeks are pink,
Their eyes glow with an inner warmth.
Tonight there will be music and fragrant herbs,
Turkey and roasting vegetables,
The crack of the Christmas crackers
And the sizzle of flaming puddings.
And when it is all over for another year,
With only the savoury fragrance hanging in the air as a reminder,
The peace with the darkness will return,
And the stars will meet again
In quiet eternity overhead.