Thirteenth Night

Richard Greene is a scholar (his University page from Toronto is here), a wit and a friend. He is most widely known, I would guess, for his excellent work on literary biography. However, he also a poet of no little distinction (his latest, Dante’s House is both monumental and accessible) and for the night after Epiphany I should like to offer his short, early poem, Thirteenth Night, on tonight’s dies non.

I hoover up the rubble of Christmas,

Bright shreds of wrapping, carpeted biscuit crumbs,

Ornamental shards of a fallen angel,

Satsuma stems, red and green ends of string.

Now, the night after twelfth night, old Christmas

Growing older, the tree standing one last hour,

The house must turn to the simpler regime

Of school-going, work, library delving,

Lives which will prosper through unfestive months

Of England’s wet winter. Waybread in season:

The last dark fruit-cake one wise elf hid.