Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 04 December 2017

  • Santa circa 2092


    On the Eve, when tongues of hung dead bells
    lay silent, smog scraped the landscape
    stretched its wrath across the shivering city.

    Below a growling sky, the grey track of a sleigh
    lugged by a pack of nine empty dogs
    weaved between mounds of bones and rust.

    Like a swarthy pioneer he handled the reins
    hoping for a place to slap his sack, retrieve a song
    from his memory, hang a sprig of mistletoe above a hearth.

    Between carcasses of once lit haunts he dug
    barehanded, searching for a glint of glitter, broken shells
    of decorated baubles, a wayward ring of a bell.

    He swept the musty ground, tore over hills,
    followed a path of fallen fern, hooked his thumbs
    into his belt, bellowed until the withered trees shook.

    Night after night he roamed, scraped the days
    from his boots, tugged at his bedraggled beard,
    listened for life under the covering of dark.

    With a sag for a smile and holes for eyes, he sat
    whimpering amongst the ashen landscape, there
    he set himself, back to a tree, slumped for the last.

    As midnight struck, a wail clogged itself to the cracks
    in his heart. Hidden in an undergrowth, threadbare
    and faint, a woman, swollen, ready.

    by Panya Banjoko


    This Friday, don’t miss our final poetry reading in this semester’s series! It features celebrated haiku and performance poet Mark Gilfillan alongside Ted Hughes Prize-shortlisted writer and translator Chris Beckett, and will take place from 7-9pm at the Society Café in Oxford. You can find more details and buy tickets
    here. Tickets will also be available on the door.

    ‘Santa circa 2092’ is copyright © Panya Banjoko, 2017. It is reprinted from Christmas Crackers: Ten Poems to Surprise and Delight (Candlestick Press, 2017) by permission of Candlestick Press.

    Notes from Candlestick Press:

    Panya Banjoko is a performance poet and writer whose first collection is forthcoming from Burning Eye Books in 2018. She performed at the 2012 Olympic Games and is a patron for UNESCO Nottingham City of Literature. Her work has been widely published in anthologies and by Bloodaxe Books and in 2008 she won a Women in the Arts Award for Outstanding Achievement. You can find more details about Panya’s work on her Facebook page or on her website and follow her on Twitter.

    Candlestick Press is a small, independent press based in Nottingham and has been publishing its sumptuous ‘instead of a card’ poetry pamphlets since 2008. Subjects range from Birds and Sheep to Tea, Kindness, Home and Puddings. This year Candlestick is publishing six Christmas titles featuring newly-commissioned poems and a short story by poet Sean O’Brien. You can read more about them on the press’ website. Candlestick Press titles are stocked by chain and independent bookshops, as well as by galleries, museums and garden centres. They can also be ordered online on the Candlestick website, where you can find out more about the full range of titles.  You can follow Candlestick on Twitter or find it on Facebook.

    Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.