I spent a very pleasant evening at the Nomad café https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nomad-Cafe/193199400811248 enjoying a performance of poetry (by Felix Hodcroft, http://www.valleypressuk.com/authors/felixhodcroft/ and Tony Howson) and music by First Quarter. It was indeed nourishment for the body and for the soul.
With a mid-winter festival theme, Felix and Tony served up a veritable cornucopia of delights. I was introduced to a Dutch poet/songwriter/singer, Stef Bos, whose line: ‘Nothing is as strong as silence. Nothing as powerful as the word that no-one hears’ is haunting me still. And I love this from Louis MacNeice’s Snow: ‘World is suddener than we fancy it./World is crazier and more of it than we think,/incorrigibly plural.’
However, what suddenly evoked the ghosts of Christmas Past was Thomas Hardy’s The Oxen (I studied him for A Level and haven’t much thought of him since).
…Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
‘Come see the oxen kneel.
‘In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,’
I should go with him in the gloom,
hoping it might be so.’
In that moment, I found his tender yearning for a faith which has gone, very moving.