An excerpt from 'Tales of Upton Downes'
I struggle on through drifted snow,
the forest looms ahead,
a short-cut through the thicket
may lead me safe to bed.
Darkness drops from lowering skies
these late December eves,
and gloom turns into blackness
beneath foreboding trees.
Brambles crunch and clutch chilled feet,
my path has petered out.
Turn left, go back, or forge ahead?
I’m shivering with doubt.
Then all at once, a gleam shines forth
where two brown trunks rise slanted.
I stumble to an open door
that’s wondrously enchanted.
I gaze into a vast, bright hall,
it's filled with dancing elves.
The air, perfumed with roasting meat,
resounds with tinkling bells.
Their master sports green holly boughs
and cheeks of berry red,
a beard of ice surrounds his face,
a crown adorns his head.
'Welcome weary traveler!'
the yuletide spirit cries.
'Stamp thy boots and doff thy cap,
a feast awaits inside!'
He leads me to long tables piled
with fruit and fresh baked bread,
rich soups and steamy puddings
complete the sumptuous spread.
Flaring torches ring the scene
and flickering above,
bright fireflies and darting sprites
play tag with turtledoves.
I shed my coat most eagerly
and warm myself with ale.
The marvels of this winter night
will fill a dozen tales!
Author's note: ▼