As the fires make corners of this house bearable, and the night falls silent and starless, I am thinking, not of Christmas, that seems so far away and meaningless, but of my children who will be coming here tomorrow to celebrate the ending of the year, and those who, for one reason or another, can’t make it.

Thank you, Frank, for throwing out this challenge.


To bring back the sun,

fires burn through the long nightsโ€”

in the east, a star.

Is this enough pale fire

to last us through the darkness?

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

74 thoughts on “Christmases”

      1. Hahahaha. I hope so, too. I know your house is freezing, but maybe if it gets too bad, you can escape to your room with Finbar and a bunch of blankets for a while.

      2. Well, I guess it was the 12 days of Christmas when people could celebrate and travel, but now it’s a week with two commercial celebrations so we can spend money? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      3. I’d forgotten about the Epiphany. We celebrate that here to a small extent, but the big ones are Christmas and New Year with a big blow out on the 24th and the 31st as well as the 25th and 1st. Not surprising most people start the year broke!

    1. Thanks Toni. I wish they could all be here, but the eldest will be with her partner’s family in the north, and the middle one is working over the holiday. I hope we’ll see them after the New year when they have some time off work/get back from the family visit. Happy Christmas to you too ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. It was great fun. I’m more apprehensive about next weekend when if all goes well all five of them will be here plus the two partners. I’m not sure I can do another big vegan meal at such short notice. It’s not the kind of thing that says ‘festive’ to me.

      2. Two daughters. They are completely uncompromising about it. The youngest is vegetarian but she’s pretty easy-going about it and stretches a point whenever it’s something she really likes like roast chicken. The other two are carnivores. It’s a difficult one to get right. Impossible unless I do two meals.

  1. Hmm, this makes me wonder about the theoretical contrast. If a pale fire doesn’t work, why not experiment with other colors, shades, depths, and vibrancies? Sometimes it’s just a matter of playing around with palettes and hues.

    1. I’d love to agree with you, but that implies a belief that we create or control the palette, and I don’t have it. We can change a nuance here and there by looking at things from a different angle, but the broad strokes are beyond our capacity to change them.

  2. Lovely piece Jane…I could change the last word to ‘heat”…..another hot one today but tomorrow promises to be cooler. Have a great time with you children, mine are turning up tomorrow(Monday) afternoon….Best wishes for 2018.

    1. Thanks Michael! Best wishes to you and yours too. We won’t have a full house because two can’t make itโ€”one spending Christmas with partner’s family and another one will be working over Christmas. Wish it was hot here!

      1. Well I rarely have all mine here either but this year I do have my eldest son and his family here. You are welcome to any amount of the heat we have been having, we are very generous about giving it away.

      2. This will be the first year we haven’t all been together. Three out of five is probably as good as it’s going to get from now on as they all start leading their own lives.

      3. Its a sad reality isn’t it, they have to juggle their family along with the family of partners. My eldest daughter lives in Melbourne and that’s a long distance from me so I don’t see her all that often. But I will 5 of the six with me this year and that’s pretty good plus 6 of the 8 grandkids.

      1. The last one goes back to Bordeaux tomorrow then on Sunday all five of them are coming for the new year. Not the restful, otherworldy celebration I was expecting.

      2. I attempt to expect less and be surprised more… As my own family grows… grandchildren, in-laws and in-laws of in-laws best we can do is just accept the unexpected. ๐Ÿ™‚
        Be well and enjoy those you love.

    1. Thanks Michael! I’m the one who’s late! It’s been chaotic so far, but it’s calming down from tomorrow until next weekend. Hope you are having a wonderful time ๐Ÿ™‚ Jane

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