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My wife and I have been together for more than forty Christmases now. That's a gift in itself. For me, being with my wife for a few days with nothing to do but relax together is Christmas.

 

You might think that, knowing one another so well and for so long, buying the right Christmas gift would be an easy thing to get right. It isn't.  We are fortunate enough already to have most of the things we want. Our tastes and our pleasures are simple. My Letter To Santa would ask only for a few days of peace and happiness.

 

I know my wife was daunted by the task of finding a gift for me this Christmas. I was reminded of a childhood joke:

 

"Q: What do you give the man who has everything?

A: Penicillin"

 

Yet she persisted and once again found something perfect: a huge red hardback book, with a ribbon to mark my place, decorated with symbols for all the seasons, with the title, "A Poem For Every Day Of The Year" in gold in the centre.

 

I'm the kind of person who lives inside my head. It can become a dark, anger-driven place if I'm left alone in there too long. This book gives me the opportunity each day to light a candle and focus on what it shows me.

 

I'm on my third poem today, 27th December and it prompted me to write this post, to remind me of how fortunate I am to be with a woman who understands me and still wants to stay with me.

 

The poem is called, "Dear True Love" and it was written by U. A. Fanthorpe, an English poet, first published in 1978,  who was new to me. Her poem is a reply to the Christmas Carol, "The Twelve Days Of Christmas". This carol has always seemed an ode to excess to me but I could never have offered the gentle rebuttal and redirection that Ursula Fanhope came up with. I read it to my wife this morning and realised that she always understood the message of this poem and it was I who was being enlightened.

 

I've included the text of the poem below.

Here's a link to "A Poem For Every Day Of The Year"

Here's the link to "New and Collected Poems" by U. A. Fanthorpe.

DEAR TRUE LOVE

by U. A. Fanthorpe

 

Leaping and dancing
Means to-ing and fro-ing;
Drummers and pipers -
Loud banging and blowing;
Even a pear-tree
Needs room to grow in.

 

Goose eggs and gold top
When I’m trying to slim?
And seven swans swimming?
Just where could they swim?

 

Mine is a small house,
Your gifts are grand;
One ring at a time
Is enough for this hand.

 

Hens, colly birds, doves,
A gastronome’s treat.
But love, I did tell you,
I’ve given up meat.

 

Your fairy-tale presents
Are wasted on me.
Just send me your love
And set all the birds free.