Monday, December 19, 2011

The Gift

asks us to consider GIFTS


I thought of gifts......
And I remembered
Something inconsequential
And yet, to me, momentous.
I was twenty
And, until that time,
I had believed that people
Understood themselves!
After that,
Doubt crept in.
And it has stayed nestling in my psyche
Ever since.
On that Spring day
I began to question.......
I got off the bus,
Ready to walk to my lodgings,
In the little Kentish town of
On my way I passed a flower shop.
Bowls of violets
Were displayed.
For no reason at all,
Except, maybe, because it was Spring,
I thought
'I'll buy Mrs N. a bowl of violets!'
She was my landlady,
Nothing more than that.
I bought a bowl of violets,
Filled with the joy of giving,
And, light-heartedly,
Resumed my walk.
But, as I walked,
A dreadful realisation came to me.
I was not buying violets
For Mrs N.
I was buying them for myself,
So that I would feel good!
I was picturing her delighted smile,
I was hearing her delighted words.
I was imagining how she would
Praise my kindness
To the other lodgers!
In other words,
I was a fraud!
In a fit of self-loathing
I flung the pot of violets
Into the nearest dustbin,
And walked home,
The years have made me 
More accepting of my own failings.
But I still remain uncertain
Of some of my motives.
And the motives of others.


Of all the many Xmas trappings
We're most aware of Xmas wrappings.
Try to imagine a Xmas Tree
Without the brilliant hues we see
Hiding the precious gifts inside
And all with pretty ribbons tied!
Wrapping-paper, we tend to think
Must be a very ancient link
To years and years way in the past!
Tradition that's been made to last!
But at the time my mother was born
The paper we now see crushed and torn,
Designed to do nothing else but wrap,
Came about by a mere mishap!
In nineteen-hundred, so we're told,
Tissue-paper alone was sold;
The colours were red and green and white;
No little pictures were in sight.
In 1917 the brothers Hall
Had no tissue-paper left at all!
They had sold-out! What could they do?
They had to think of something new.
Sheets for lining envelopes
Started reviving all their hopes.
Normally these sheets were cut
To fit the envelope sizes but
Now they laid full sheets in view!
They happened to be patterned too!
 People raved and people clamoured;
Even on the windows hammered!
The paper sheets ran out the door!
And so they printed more and more!
They made designs of stars and trees
And other emblems such as these.
The Hall brothers built their company
Purely accidentally!
'Hallmark'... the name is known world-wide!
Paper to wrap gifts inside
Became their 'hallmark' (excuse the pun)
And they were copied by everyone.
So the wrapping paper we all know
Appeared not many years ago!
Less than a hundred! A recent addition!
Yet already we call it 'a tradition'!

1 comment:

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

I enjoyed your poem and insights about motives and your Christmas wrapping poem too.

And thanks as always for your fun Limerick-Off contributions!