poems and readings for
Most pieces listed here were written for carol services and are used at events each year in the UK and elsewhere. They may all be copied and used free of charge for any charitable or not-for-profit event or publication (see here for more information on permissions).
New this year is The (good)will of the people, a Br*xit-inspired rewrite of Luke's angelic theme, which may or may not still be topical when December comes round.
What kind of Messiah? is a tongue-in-cheek reflection on what we really want to be saved from. Skin starts at Christmas and imagines Christ's life from the senses of his human body. In The magi at the empty manger we take on the roles both of the bringers and the users of the three gifts. The last poem in the Magi sequence, The epiphany, can also be used effectively on its own as a longer reading.
More jokey 'sketches' for one or more performers acting out a particular role are Light of the world, the mock bulletin News just in and A child is born, which works particularly well if you are able to use Powerpoint or similar slides to show the spoof questionnaire.
Incarnate is a serious piece, not long, but with the broadest scope of any, a two-part telling of the story within universal history, usable as a single poem or split into a "prologue" and "epilogue" to an event.
As well as
the shorter poems listed, any of The
straw can be used as short poems on their own - The word,
nativity and The
magi probably best - as might the shorter poems from A Christmas
Finally there are four sequences which were created as narrative frameworks for a whole service or concert when mixed with other elements:
The last straw comprises eight short poems acting as introductions to some of the usual carol service bible readings.
The four longer poems of Magi provide a contemporary interpretation of the story which can be shared among any number of voices.
If you choose to use any of these in your events, or have other comments about them which you think may be helpful to me or others, please let me know.
"The little Lord Jesus no crying he makes" Yeah, as if... (performance time 2:30)
The magi at the empty manger (for three voices)
What will we do with the gifts now? (performance time 2:00)
Paranoid Jewish tyrant king gatecrashes suburban Christmas dinner (performance time 6:30)
Life on the inside for a God clothed in skin (performance time 4:30)
Sound and lighting technicians mark up the script for "The Nativity" (performance time 3:15)
News just in (for 1 or 2 voices)
Seasonal news bulletin (performance time 2:30)
A multiple-choice, politically-correct prophecy (performance time 3:40)
Alpha to Omega (performance time 2:30)
The wise men overshoot the Bethlehem exit and turn up in 21st century London
"Come and live rough as we do: come and die."
Conspiracy theories in the hills above Bethlehem.
Any poem from The last straw
Any short poem from A Christmas commentary