DAY 234: Anniversaries

December 21st, 2017 § 0 comments

What an amazing end to the year! Although it’s inevitably steeped in gloom and desperation for those of you who don’t inhabit the small bubble where I live but are forced to pass their time in, say, Bethlehem (seasonal) or Myanmar or, as I said recently, Eritrea, or Texas – although all that, here because of my slightly manic accumulation of voluntary ‘work’, I’ve been out to no less than four parties in rapid succession, all I suppose celebrating the birthday of Jesus rrrrEthiopian_nativity_fabric_previewwhich happens to fall close to my own. All are grateful for the pitifully small amount of work I put in, and celebrate my success in managing to live so long without getting some terminal disease or becoming a rabid Islamophobe or frankly losing interest in the whole

circus

human circus. ‘Phone credit for Refugees’, easily the most excitable of my occupations, (whose members I’d never met irl, but who communicate online 24/7 in arcane references, pseudonyms, technical jargon, and a mixture of languages) followed their tradition of getting up a collection for my birthday – for them, not for me, of course; which led to delightful wishes (to me) from at least sixty people who I’d never met as they donated their tenner (to the cause). And threw a party – for Jesus, I suppose rather than me – in a posh place in WC2 and poured me into a taxi at the end. Haringey Migrants’ Support Centre, to whom I owe much more than I could possibly repay since they offer me a share of a room and company and are prepared to pretend that I’m some kind of low-grade lawyer, are throwing a drinks party. I feel amazingly lucky to be at the centre of all this

dolce

La dolce vita

activity when as we  know in the streets of Tottenham, never mind Beirut or Asmara or Brussels huge numbers are suffering, even freezing to death as a direct result of the actions of governments – any governments, the whole wretched lot of them – run by the rich at the expense of the poor.

But you must be used to hearing these rants, and not only from me. Let’s join in hoping (as we always misguidedly do) that the future will be no worse than the past… What are the angels up to? My mother was a particular aficionada of the carol ‘It Came upon the Midnight Clear’, written says Wikipedia by a Methodist pastor ‘at a time of revolution in Europe’ and looking forward clearly to the triumphant arrival of the angels to overthrow the bosses. It didn’t happen then and it’s even less looking like happening now. What blind faith, what foolish optimism keeps us trying to resist, keeping our eyes fixed, not on the angels but on the cold and misery all around us in the hopes that by raising money,making phone calls, selling t-shirts or tote bags, we can make any difference? Have we not just about run out of rhetorical questions? I rest my case, and wish you all as much rest as you can squeeze out of the season. Don’t give up, brothers and sisters, you are not alone – we are many, they are few! Why doesn’t it feel like that?

1. It came upon the midnight clear,
that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth
to touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, good will to men,
from heaven’s all-gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
to hear the angels sing.

2. Still through the cloven skies they come
with peaceful wings unfurled,
and still their heavenly music floats
o’er all the weary world;
above its sad and lowly plains,
they bend on hovering wing,
and ever o’er its Babel sounds
the blessed angels sing.

3. And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
whose forms are bending low,
who toil along the climbing way
with painful steps and slow,
look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
and hear the angels sing!

4. For lo! the days are hastening on,
by prophet seen of old,
when with the ever-circling years
shall come the time foretold
when peace shall over all the earth
its ancient splendors fling,
and the whole world send back the song
which now the angels sing.

ugh rest

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