A month to watch a wreath decay.
Ribbons pulls friends home
to mothers, in towns away, ‘cross
hills and tracks with luggage
to escape being alone on Christmas.
Arthritic, brittle leaves dry out, and
leprous branches fall.
Crimson berries, cries of red
from cherub-cheeks stuffed
with glowing rosehips
finally lose their gloss –
before shrivelling, fading
and passing into hallmark shades of Winter grey.
Quiet, deserted houses in cities
light up again come new year,
when the ribbon unravels, new shoes
tread into cold buildings
to find unused candles, abandoned blankets
and corpses of wreaths by the bins.