The meaning of Christmas Day

V0040836 A bishop wearing a mitre is riding on a horse followed by ot

The bishop sat in lordly state and purple cap sublime,
And galvanized the old bush church at Confirmation time.
And all the kids were mustered up from fifty miles around,
With Sunday clothes, and staring eyes, and ignorance profound.
Now was it fate, or was it grace, whereby they yarded too
An overgrown two-storey lad from Tangmalangaloo?

A hefty son of virgin soil, where nature has her fling,
And grows the trefoil three feet high and mats it in the spring;
Where mighty hills uplift their heads to pierce the welkin's rim,
And trees sprout up a hundred feet before they shoot a limb;
There everything is big and grand, and men are giants too -
But Christian Knowledge wilts, alas, at Tangmalangaloo.

The bishop summed the youngsters up, as bishops only can;
He cast a searching glance around, then fixed upon his man.
But glum and dumb and undismayed through every bout he sat;
He seemed to think that he was there, but wasn't sure of that.
The bishop gave a scornful look, as bishops sometimes do,
And glared right through the pagan in from Tangmalangaloo.

"Come, tell me, boy," his lordship said in crushing tones severe,
"Come, tell me why is Christmas Day the greatest of the year?
"How is it that around the world we celebrate that day
"And send a name upon a card to those who're far away?
"Why is it wandering ones return with smiles and greetings, too?"
A squall of knowledge hit the lad from Tangmalangaloo.

He gave a lurch which set a-shake the vases on the shelf,
He knocked the benches all askew, up-ending of himself.
And so, how pleased his lordship was, and how he smiled to say,
"That's good, my boy.  Come, tell me now; and what is Christmas Day?"
The ready answer bared a fact no bishop ever knew -
"It's the day before the races out at Tangmalangaloo.

John O'Brien, Tangmalangaloo

 

 

 

 

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12 thoughts on “The meaning of Christmas Day

    1. In the Never-never, the other side of the black stump.

      Hope you and Peter and all the family have had great times together and lots of good food. I roasted some fabulous carrots in butter, thyme and honey.

        1. Brown them, whole, in butter and oil for 5 minutes and then put the pan in the oven with a few sprigs of thyme and a teaspoon of honey, baste with the juices and cook for about 40 mins. Yum!

  1. Thanks for the poem! Best seasons greetings to you, Gert. Christmas has gained a new meaning for me this year on account of visiting a friend being held in immigration detention at Broadmeadows. The detainees made the decorations themselves, which small fact holds a world of irony, in my view.

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