The shop is no longer there
The tiny toy shop, a converted sitting room in her house
Long demolished with the street
In a wave of progress.
It was where I learned my manners, my moralitiés
In all the traditions of a 15th century Perrault tale,
A Red-riding-hood fantasy
That warns not to stray from the known path
I, being the child I was, found it hard to do that.
Christmas in my grand-aunt’s shop was magic
An Aladdin’s cave of Santas and sleighs and candy canes
All rolled up into one,
Victorian mid-terrace residence
Tinsel and lights, the scent of cinnamon and pine
colourful garlands, and baubles,
The taste of pudding,
Jangling, jingle bells . . .
Two ornamental snow bears guarded the threshold
To the rooms beyond where I strayed,
A little Tinkerbell
In my own warm, fuzzy, fairyland that day
Until I heard her shrill voice call,
Chasing down the narrow hall
To tell me not to touch a thing,
Break it and,
She’d make my father pay.
Yet on I roamed from room to room
And wandered here and there
But as I went the air grew chill
I can recall that feeling still
My feet and hands icy . . . numb,
But I could hear unseen angels sing
And a little drummer drum.
On, on I went and turned a key
into a room,
As if not one living thing
Had ventured there before.
I stopped wide-eyed and stared in awe
At a cabinet almost bare, except
Upon it stood a crystal ball,
From where the music filled the air,
That held me enchanted in its spell.
carolling the joy
Noel Nouvelet Noel
As if bewitched I reached to grasp the glittering sphere
To shake the snow, to watch it
To hold it to my ear
If I could hear the music play more clear
But my hands were trembling, freezing cold, and
I could not grasp the glistering globe
Shattering glass makes music all its own.
It chimes like a steeple bell . . .
And I swear I can hear it still.
Still see the snow fall, spill everywhere,
Still see the baby Jesus on an icy floor
Even as my father reached for his wallet,
Vain searching for the money that was not there to pay
Even as the music played on
Noel Nouvelet Noel chantons ici