The festive challenge was to submit a politically correct Christmas carol.
One of Donald Trump’s election pledges was to end ‘the war on Christmas’, and he has given the electorate the presidential nod to say ‘Merry Christmas’ again instead of the more inclusive ‘Happy holidays’.
But was this ‘war’ a pointless and misguided one in the first place? Adam Gopnik, writing in the New Yorker, has pointed out that Christmas ‘is, at its roots, the very model of a pagan-secular-synthetic festival as much as it is a religious one — just the kind, in fact, that the imaginary anti-Christmas forces are supposed to favour…’. He concludes: ‘The war on Christmas is over. Christmas won.’
So, safe in the knowledge that Donald Trump would approve, I wish you all a Merry Christmas. Thank you, as ever, for your clever, thoughtful and well made entries — and occasional competition suggestions. Keep them coming next year.
Strong performers this week were Ian Barker, Pat Lowther and P.T. Brown. They each earn an honourable mention. The winners pocket £25 each.
God help ye, merry gentlemen,
You’re making girls distraite,
Your incorrect behaviours
Quite spoil their holiday
Put your misogynistic jokes
And mistletoe away!
Or whinings of piety shall cloy,
Ever shall cloy,
O, whinings of piety shall cloy.
While shepherds ate their vegan gruel,
Inclusive and right-on,
Their fire was free of fossil fuel,
Yet with great warmth it shone.
A visitor appeared to them
From unpolluted skies
To tell them ‘go to Bethlehem,
You’ll get a big surprise.
You’ll find a magic baby there
Newborn by natural birth
Whose eco-mission will prepare
To green this fallen Earth.’
Once there, along with three Bame kings
Who bore the infant gifts
Of healthy and organic things,
They worshipped Christ in shifts.
We’re dreaming of a nice winter
With roads made clear of ice and snow,
Just a bland occasion, no ostentation,
And street lamps giving us a glow.
We’re dreaming of a sound season
With people free to choose their feast,
Where no greetings selfishly exclude,
And no monarchs patronise the least.
We’re dreaming of a cool Christmas
To state whose colour would be rude,
Where the folk are thrifty, and health and safety
Concerns all neighbours as it should.
We’re dreaming of the year coming
With no one special or select;
May your months be models of care,
And may all your actions be correct.
O come all ye faithful
Also all Islamists and Sikhs and Jews
Also all pagans
And the Zoroastrians
O dulce et decorum
In saecula saeculorum
Or if you like, ignore him
Christ the Lord
Regardless of gender
And of orientation
O come ye O come ye if you so choose
Birds bees and insects
Any stance on Brexit
O dulce etc. etc.
The Lord at first did Adam make
Out of the dust and clay.
That was his first and worst mistake —
We suffer to this day.
For women were an afterthought,
A rib excised from Adam;
We’re simply here for macho sport,
Each Miss or Ms. or Madam.
And others feel the same distress;
They share our sorry plight:
Dismissed by Adam’s kind, unless
They’re male and straight and white.
So next time, Lord, you feel inclined
To tinker with the clay,
Create a prototype ‘mankind’
Who’s female, black, and gay.
While politicians watched their backs
And Brexit dates came round
A Christmas message filled the screens
And welcome was the sound.
‘Fear not,’ it said, ‘the Great Godhead
Salutes all neuterkind,
Equality is planned for all
Created in Its mind.
Resolve in future to embrace
Most races as your own,
Let everyone kneel down to praise
All gods on one great throne.
Good cheer to people everywhere,
To beast and fowl and fish,
Change state and gender when inclined
To fit each passing wish.
Your next challenge is to submit a biblical parable rewritten in the style of a well-known author (please specify). Please email (wherever possible) entries of up to 150 words to email@example.com by midday on 9 January.