Marcus Aurelius Christmas Fair/Utensils

Gifts you find in my Christmas Fair
Include an Absence of Fear
Absence of craving Fame or Fortune Cookies
Absence of that Suffering both engender
So Absence too of Anger
I name this place of equanimity ‘Fair’

When you choose to open your gift
Let there be a lamp of clarity
Separating false from real affection
Illuminating in each individual
The miracle they are

‘Everything Must Go’ –
All our frolics now are seen
Mistakenly for centuries
Exorbitant worship of Saturn
Extended all year round –
When only for limited season
Could such rituals appeal –

Where Greed is ‘good’
Where Impudent Misrule
Involves we wear half-masks
Playing ‘Simon Says do this/do that’
Jocular gifts once given between friends
Become impressive bribes to those
Who offer reciprocities of business

Set this Saturnalia aside –
Gluttony and Bling and Bing
Crosby on White Christmas champagne binges
Charging as white rhinos party to party –

This season I give ‘Nothing’ as a gift
Remembering in essence we must ‘pass’
And in our passing leave perhaps no trace
But history’s ‘Chinese Whispers’ for a toy

Once upon a time in Rome
I looked askance at Christians
Hammering one empty tomb into a Mystery-Cult
Now I see some merit in their bold mythology –
I welcome new-born babies to The Senate
In whose eyes still earth and heaven meet
Inviting facile Senators the while
Shut their ‘traps’ in silence for this season –
And let the future speak



One clay vessel in shape of a pig
One clay flask in form of a hare
A swan asleep her neck and beak
A toga clasp of silver

They came in ‘from the farm’
Leaf and straw still in their hair
These ‘sophisticated’ Romans –
Remaining grounded when their world
Moved forward ever faster
By fixing in utensils a repose
Redolent of childhood sights and sounds
First loved and deeply remembered



Bernard Saint
Illustration: Claire Palmer



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One Response to Marcus Aurelius Christmas Fair/Utensils

    1. Thanks for this. Good start to my day.

      Comment by tom on 20 December, 2021 at 2:04 pm

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