Each Christmas we all gathered there,
‘Aunt Clare, has more room ,after all’ with
her trestled tables and chair.
Grown-ups swigging their brown bottled ale,
young-uns, lemonade with paper straw,
VE style parties, once more.
Lunch over, the voice decibels rose,
raucus laughter oiled by the beer
brought forth more plates of festive cheer.
Cards slid noiselessly over the American
cloth, copper coins switching from pot to pot,
enthralled children watching on, ‘til
banished with a special treat, to the cold
stairs, or now bare front room, or to play
out in the deserted twilight street.
Every year the ritual was much the same,
a family ‘bring and share’ , long before
such gatherings were given this name.