The antidote to festive stodge and too much television, a Christmas walk has become as traditional as turkey and crackers. Whatever the weather, we don hats, scarves and boots to venture outside. The point is to crunch over snow, stamp through puddles or just to breathe the different air – all while sharing time with loved ones.
In these twelve poems – the winners in our seasonal competition – we experience everything from a holly-gathering expedition in a country lane, to a beach in Australia where “the sand is white as snow”. Over and again comes the idea that a walk can be a pilgrimage, sparking memories and a sense of the abiding presence of the past:
“I once walked up the lane with my children
by moonlit snow, power lines down – in the deepest dark
they had ever known; we made a small hand-held line…”
from ‘A low owl at Christmas’ by Valerie Bence
Poems by Bill Adair, Valerie Bence, Jane Burn, Martyn Crucefix, Kerry Darbishire, Marie-Louise Eyres, Annie Kissack, Aoife Mannix, Charlotte Oliver, Penny Sharman, Giles Watson and Miriam Wei Wei Lo.
Cover illustration by Jenny Hancock.