Coerced into memory,
the pastry yellow under my nails;
every circular cut
a neat-edged summary
of Christmas ritual.
Before the wreck of age grounded
you on rocks of wild assertion,
dulled your mind and wasted muscles,
the top seat was yours,
directing willing and unwilling hands
for Christmas dinner.
Our bellies stuffed,
the table cleared, cheese
for any corners left unfilled,
your Christmas court included
party tricks, a song or recitation.
Yours, learned by heart, Excelsior,
the Banner with a Strange Device.
Then port passed clockwise,
cracker jokes read out in turn:
I say, I say, I say;
boum boum; kindly get off.
Christmas Day is signalled
by mince pies for breakfast.
Remembering now that once
they were shaped like coffins.