Virtual Christmas


Put on the helmet and gloves. Connect.
Sweep down from Lapland behind reindeer antlers
to a land puffed with white aglow in the night,
turn at a whim where your gloved finger points
over pillows of fields to a house in a wood,
fly down the chimney quick as a mouse
into a room where a green gift-tree grows
and colourful stockings drape the fire surround.
Dip in the sack and dispense all the parcels,
pause to check score before zipping away
to search for another deep in the woodlands
where Scrooge fires humbugs to delay you.
The timer is ticking and ticking and ticking
and jingle-bells play.

Take off the helmet and look round the room
clinically neat and clinically clean,
no tree and no tinsel, cards came on a screen.
Out there in the night the wind may be painting
the winter world white, but here in the warm
the microwave waits to sizzle your meal –
frozen turkey with stuffing, three veg, cranberry sauce –
cold cold Christmas pudding awaits second course.
Press a key just to see the gift-credits listed
and carefully summed at the base of the screen.
No! Don’t remember, don’t try to remember
the faces round the table , the games in the parlour,
the voices and laughter. Put on you helmet!
Point the gloved finger!


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