I COULD HAVE… (BUT I DIDN’T)

A foreword to my dear TransAtlantic (and other) friends

I must apologise for this little effort being unashamedly British. There are a couple of shops mentioned (one Bookseller and a Supermarket) whose names may be unfamiliar to you. There is another shop with which everybody on this planet will no doubt be familiar. I leave it to you to fill in the unfamiliar with something more recognisable; and now, please sit back:

Are we comfortable? Then I shall begin.

I COULD HAVE… (BUT I DIDN’T)

I went down and checked out at “Sainsbury’s”,

At “W H Smith” and Patel’s;

At the racks of cards they’d displayed there,

To find out exactly what sells.

 

I wanted to make sure that your card

Would mirror how special you are,

And consequently researched all the options,

Lest your card should fall below par.

English Robin - with genuine British accent
English Robin - with genuine British accent

 

You could have had robins in snow scenes,

With little plaid scarves round their throats;

Or cute (but unreal) little hedgehogs

In Wellington boots and waxed coats.

A real one... with four real boots. But he had to take his waxed coat off because it was getting a bit warm indoors.
A real one... with four real boots. But he had to take his waxed coat off because it was getting a bit warm indoors.

 

There could have been Victorian children

Wrapped in fur and muffler and muff;

Stagecoaches filled with jolly fat revellers;

And the rest of that syrupy stuff.

Madonna wasn't available, so we had to ask this lady to fill in for her.
Madonna wasn't available, so we had to ask this lady to fill in for her.

And I’m sure that it’s possible to purchase

(For The Trendies), what could be neater

Than cards with a hundred Dalmatians

(Or more), “Toy Story” or even “Evita”.

Sandro Botticelli
Sandro Botticelli

 

You could have had lovely gilt angels

(Botticelli or even Bronzino)

Bronzino
Bronzino

 

Or “The Magi Adoring The Infant”

By Francesco Parmigianino.

Francesco Parmigianino
Francesco Parmigianino

 

Or snow scenes with lovely pink sunsets,

Distant church spires, and pine trees and sheep;

Father Christmas and dozens of reindeer;

Little mice stuffed in stockings, fast asleep

You could have had a card that was bawdy,

The greeting set out in the vernacular.

Or it could have been deeply religious,

Or quasi-religious or even secular.

But finally I opted for another.

Doesn’t fill any of the criteria above.

But simply because I just like it,

So I send it to you, with my love.

 

So what IS this card that I’ve chosen?

And WHICH is the format I’ll send?

It’s not Dear Old Queen Vicky, or sugary sticky

Nor is it Post Modern, with ideas which offend.

 

Then again, it’s not overtly religious;

Not a Renaissance Angel in sight

No snow storms, no spires, no carolling choirs

And no Three Blokes on Camels at night.

 

There’s an absolute dearth of damp livestock;

But my choice I here strongly defend:

Please read them with care; my true wishes are there

In the four simple lines at the end:

 

So I’m not just wishing you “Merry Christmas”,

And it’s not just “A Happy New Year”,

I’m wishing you Unlimited Happiness,

Not just for now, but Forever, my dear.

 

More by this Author


Comments 44 comments

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 5 years ago from St. Louis

Another great poem...and a great card too, much more to my liking than the others (though the hedgehog has a certain je ne sais qua.) Such entertainment and a joy to read...as always!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you Christoph.. Yes, that hedgehog certainly has panache, don't you know. Thank you for the support and the lovely comments. It keeps me going!


acaetnna profile image

acaetnna 5 years ago from Guildford

Wow - great work - awesome.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 5 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Wow!! You did (or didn't) find one just for ME! Thank you so very much! And I shall return same to you!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Acaetnna, this was written some years ago, and I wish I had reread it properly before publishing... I am going to edit it slightly. Some (very wise) person made a suggestion for a better ending.

Please come back and see if it's a bit better.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Candie, I hang my head in shame. It has a muddled ending. I am going to edit it and hope you come back and have another look... I'll do my best. Promise!


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

Oh yes, very British indeed :) I particularly love the image of the robin in the tartan scarf! We get them in our garden all the time. I can't imagine how they manage to knit with no fingers.

Lovely festive hub. And as I look at the Christmas cards we've received, almost every one you've described is here!

Linda.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Linda, Please have another look. I was embarrassed to have it pointed out that the card (hub) had a muddled ending, and I here offer yo a new one AT NO EXTRA COST. (That's true Christmas spirit, isn't it?)

Thanks for taking the time to read it.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 5 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Wow! Two cards for the price of one! I love the ending! Don't change a thing! Unless there's a coupon for IKEA you can add that we can print and redeem? Hmmmm! Brilliant idea!

I forgot to add that I adore the hedgehog! Adore him and his boots!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Candie, the IKEA reference made me laugh out loud.

I love the little hedgehog too. I think they're so cute, but I haven't seen one here for years.

Thanks for the comments and for dropping in.


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

Ooh, thanks so much for the extra freebie :D True Christmas spirit indeed! I love the poem, it makes me want to watch the Vicar of Dibley Christmas special!

Linda.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I've not ever watched 'The Vicar of Dibley', but you're going to love this.

Years ago, an acquaintance said that she wanted me to meet a couple of friends of hers, who had heard of me and a chum and thought I (or we) sounded fun/interesting blah blah blah. It was around Christmas and I was busy with school etc, and I declined (Politely, of course). I had not even heard of these two ladies, they were Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French!!!


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

Nooooooooooooo!!! Is that Actually a true story? Because it's quite heartbreaking if it is. Ooh, what I wouldn't give to meet Jenny and Dawny! I love them, with my whole being :D

Linda.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Yes, Linda, it's true. I think it's Jennifer I like most. I love the way Dawn can take the piss out of herself so cleverly, but Jennifer, I think, has that extra. But what would she be like without Joanna Lumley? I have every video of the Ab Fab series, and can't remember how many times I have roared at that.


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

Ah, Ab Fab, how I've laughed! Yes, Jennifer does have that something extra. But I see that something in Dawn when she's the vicar too. They both just warm me cockles :)

Victoria Wood's another one. I saw her live, and nearly weed, she was so funny!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Linda, if you nearly weed at Victoria Wood, who I think is amazingly funny, do you know 'Two Soups', which I believe was written by her?


Jan Holt 5 years ago

Twilight - I think that is the best christmas card I have ever...ever....received. I smiled all the way through reading it. If I were to choose a frontage from the many options, I think I would choose the reindeer. On closer viewing, it looks like one of the little fellows has been eating a lot of roughage, due to the fact of his bottom being poised up in the air towards the others' faces!

Merry Christmas to my favourite poet! x


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Jan, you obviously have great observational powers. I thought he was just being coy.

Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to read my effort (no pun intended).

Merry Christmas to you too

x


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

Oh, that's done it! I have weed now! Yes, I do know 'Two Soups' - that was the trigger for my incontinence problem. I don't know if I've ever laughed so much at anything else in all my life - I do an impression of that waitress at parties (wonderful Julie Walters - another of my favourite ladies.)


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I don't know how often I've watched it and howled with laughter... at least five million times, at a conservative estimation.


oliversmum profile image

oliversmum 5 years ago from australia

Twilight Lawns. Hi. I loved reading this poem, you do have a special way of putting words together. It was magical.

Loved the English robin, especially the accent.

Thanks heaps for sharing your talent with us. :) :)


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Hi Oliver's mum, and Hi Oliver. Thanks for dropping by. Shame it was a tiny bit after Christmas (Oops!) but thank you for dropping by. It's always great to have a visit from you from Down Under... brings back memories (especially your last, lovely hub)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Brilliant!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Fancks (as a Cockney would say).


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Tee hee


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I can see the games you are playing Nellie... build me up to expect a plethora of extremely well organised words; then go minimalist on me.

Ha!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

No, darlin' - I should be that clever, but, fact is, I'm a notoriously poor game-player. The only way I can excel at a game is if I am playing against my own ineptitude in hopes of improving it.

This was my honest response. I have no more a set pattern for responding than I have of composing. - I just listen to what it really is I'm feeling, sensing or thinking and attempt to convey it. When it comes out as a plethora - that's unpremeditated; - it is simply what pours forth in attempting the conveyance - and often, I am sure - overly so. If at times it comes out concise and minimalist - and says it well, I'm pleased.

In this case, with the occasion for the setting of your greeting being receding into the past, I felt no need for very much digging into the message for those nuances, which would be redundant at best. I noticed that many of the earlier comments were made when the season was still aglow in their minds.

But even now - or any time, - the sheer beauty of the simplicity of your guiding that specific, now past holiday message into an "evermore" kind of loving message just struck me as "brilliant"; - any more elaboration on my part would be gilding the lily as they say - (as I have now done. :-} But this, too, is a natural response. I'm just incorrigible! Hugs.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

You are so lovely. I wish I had met you before. I still have this very romantic picture of you in my mind, if you remember, of the poetess (I like poetess, actress etc.) surrounded by intellectuals, (but not the dreary bookish types, No! the ones who really love ideas and literature and poetry and all kinds of music), and neophytes and wonderful cooking and dogs and and and

I, by the way, am sitting waiting for the British Gas boiler man to come and service my central heating boiler. He was supposed to come after 1:00 this afternoon, but he rang and said he was going to be here "in ten minute" That was at 7:55. It is now 9:00 and I am still waiting. And pissed off! Excuse the invective, but all sorts of minor things have gone wrong during the last couple of days.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Ah - another application of the title: "I COULD HAVE… (BUT I DIDN’T)" hehe.

sigh.

Thank you for the compliments! "Before" is a longer while for me - more than for you, I'm thinking. So I was here - where were you? ;->

PoetESS is fine. It took me years to even think of myself as one, after I'd written many, many poems. I still tend to look around behind me to check what poet is being addressed by either gender form of that noun being applied to me.

I don't know how my reality would measure up to your mental picture, but there are vast areas of my life having been surrounded by feisty intellectuals; and I was most fortunate to finally marry one, and it coincided with my "coming out" of the shadows. He had an easy grace, took himself lightly and laughed as he sometimes said he'd have loved to be a professor and an "egghead" - but he didn't need those qualifications to sparkle. He loved nothing more than to discover a person's inner depth and nurture it. His mind and heart were things to behold. I think you and he would have greatly enjoyed each other's company. He dearly loved to converse with people "eye-ball to eye-ball" and never really got into online interaction much. But sharing time with him included wonderful music, ideas, literature and poetry - he was a good poet, too, though not prolific at all.

Poor baby! It's a bummer to have utilities and/or appliances malfunctioning and "no help in sight". I hope you get relief soon!

I've yet to hear from my well man down at the ranch about whether or not he even got over there, and if, so - whether he was able to fix the spewing broken pipe or pipes. He had no idea what materials to take along on his 50 or so mile trip over there; - so it's possible he could have gotten there and didn't have the right parts. Then he may have had to travel another 150 or so round trip to get what he needed. Of course, it will cost me a bundle, too -- IF he gets it fixed. If not, the whole ranch is rendered useless without its only water supply. I've been waiting ever since I heard from the Sheriff's office Monday that they'd been informed that the Border Patrol had spotted the tower of gushing water on my place. I've learned that the BP was flying over the area looking for illegal entrants at the time. It is not easy to attend to things when one is THERE - but being 500 miiles away and by myself - it is almost prohibitive and wo even for a guy.

That is not as romantic a picture of the poetess, is it? ;-> But I fit the romantic one best, perhaps.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

OOPS - That sentence got distorted and my time ran out before I could fix it! "...and wo even for a guy." was intended to be"..and would be even for a guy." And I intended to add that I am facing serious issues.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

It had a sort of romanticism, if only Edna Ferber had written it...

He came, well after 9:30. In fact I think I mentioned something like, "IT'S TEN O'CLOCK... WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?" and then he fiddled around, terrified.

When he went, a friend of mine (husband of a girl I used to teach) came to look around because he (the friend) might have been putting in a new boiler, and noticed that the seal was missing, the corner of the metal door was forced, and there was a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning, so he has switched off the boiler and I only have a gas fire in one room.

Serves me right for my comment the other day about the temperature here as opposed to the US.

I can't afford a new boiler anyway, because it is going to cost about £3,600 and that will almost empty my bank account.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Now I'm really sad about this. I can provide but little Edna Ferber; perhaps your local library can do better! :-))

But with that boiler & the boiler man situation, - we must do something cheerful quickly!

How about this one:

"A woman can look both moral and exciting... if she also looks as if it was quite a struggle". --Edna Ferber


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I love that. I have not heard it before.

I also like the one it reminds me of, Oscar Wilde's: "I like men who have a future and women who have a past".

Nellie Anna, I think I am developing a not so rare condition: hub fatigue.

I used to be excited when I saw that there were lots of comments on my hubs, but I also see that someone has published a new hub, and usually I read them and try to make a well thought out (if brief) comment, but as I told you, I am a very slow reader and equally slow writer, and i haven't been able to write for days... And PLEASE don't take this personally, because you, with a very few others are always interesting to me.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

I have sensed your slump, though not sure what or why. Just do what is best for you. This should not be a chore! If if feels like one - take a break and see how you feel following a little space. I"m a slow reader, too - and though I write rapidly when I'm inspired, I am seldom brief, and of course - I can't reply to everyone I follow with such thoroughness. I just do what I can. I know I have limitations and, while I'd rather not have them, - I can't really apologize for it and don't expect others to apologize if they feel "closed in upon". Nothing wrong with backing off and seeing how it looks from there. When you DO write - it is delightful. That is enough. You're loved and lovable.

Hugs, dear friend.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

So long as we can continue exchanging ideas and news and thoughts. Maybe I just need to back off for a while. I just checked, and I know I'm not prolific, but I have written only 74 words during the last 24 hours of 'The Potter' and it was going so well.

I do have that sad poem which ii mentioned. I like it enormously (The arrogance of the man!!!), and think I will put it on tonight.

So watch this space.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Ah. I'm not much of a scorekeeper, so counting words would seldom even occur to me. If I'm prolific at some times and not at others, it is simply what IS and always preferable to what is not.

I always welcome and embrace our exchange of ideas and news and thoughts when proffered. I would never wish to presume, though, or force any of them. I respect your privacy and right to be. I confess that I checked the moon's phase to determine if possibly the funk or slump was lunar-inspired, but - appropriately, the only phase Google revealed is my own for this latitude and longitude, so my snooping ended then & there. If you wish me to know, you'll do so. Anyway - the symptoms seem more personal and not so lunar & general. If I could help, I would. And if that sad poem is chafing you, and it would rid you of its grip to post it, then by all means - let's have it! I'll be like a mama bear protecting her cub if it's really barbed or dangerous to him and gently nurturing if he just thinks it is.

Rest well.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

finding my exact astrological position, or whatever one would call it, is very difficult because of my location and the times of my birth. Remember, I was born in Quetta, Baluchistan and I am not sure at what time. I was there; I know, but I seem to have mislaid my watch. You know how it is.

And the poem? Posted. And as you remember, my dear friend: although I can write deeply emotional prose and poetry, and appear to be showing the world my inner being with outstretched hands, it is just a case of my capacity to empathise.

I'm a Hard Hearted (Whatever the make form of Hanna is).

This is bizarre. i was looking for a name and I couldn't think of it... then it struck em: my second name is Hugh.

I'm a Had Hearted Hugh.

I hope you like the hub... and the poem... and and and.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Hi tw this really is a brilliant, comprehensive meander around the choices that we all have to make whilst choosing that special card. The intro was wise too in this worldwide format. I would have pocketed the hedgehog and kept it myself, it was so cute. I can imagine the joy you were experiencing as this poem unfolded in front of you. The praise is a warm glow, but so is the writing of such a glittering christmas special. Cheers from your far-flung friend.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you, that was a real in depth appraisal. Yes I did enjoy it as it unfolded, as I seldom plan poems or verses.... Sometimes we have to when there is a verse pattern and all the rest of it to adhere to, but this one was a dream,

Looking at the comments, it seemed to have pleased a lot of people also, and that is always a plus, for me.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Amazing! And the images are beautiful. Thank you ~


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I'm glad you enjoyed it, my friend. It is a little after Christmas, but it needed an airing.


nighthag profile image

nighthag 4 years ago from Australia

I know its no where near christmas as I read this, but I have to say what a fantastic christmas poem! The last verse was my personal fave full of love and hope, great write!!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Only a little over four months to Christmas, so who cares about a few days.

It's Eid today here. Just two minutes ago, so Happy Eid to you, my friend, regardless of your religion.


Billie Kelpin profile image

Billie Kelpin 3 years ago from Newport Beach

Love it, love it, love it. My mother used to recite poetry and song lyrics in bed to me at night - ("The Village Blacksmith," "If" by Rudyard Kipling, a war song "My Sister and I," "In Flanders Field") She had memorized all of them, and I'm sure she would have memorized yours!

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