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Allan Tate At Christmas

On this His winter's day the Christ bells ring
that celebrate this season of despair.
Returns the dear, wronged echoes that now sing
in chorus, almost human, like a prayer.
Again before my fire and regret,
beside those downturned figures from the sleigh
broods tinsel blessings and red, fretted debt-
and neither find a sacred thing to say.
So the hearth still tries its guilt-lamenting song
and all the while it lingers as a curse,
for somewhere-somehow-something's wrong-
like Christmas cards appraised upon their verse.
My human self alone can Jesus save
and so 'in excelsior' to the grave.

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