Time was slow snow sieving the night,
a kind of love from the blurred moon;
your small town swooning, unabashed,
was Winter’s own.
Snow was the mind of Time, sifting
itself, drafting the old year’s end.
You wrote your name on the window-pane
with your young hand.
And your wishes went up in smoke,
beyond where a streetlamp studied
the thoughtful snow on Christmas Eve,
as Time, snow, darkness, child, kindled.
Downstairs, the ritual lighting of the candles.
“Christmas Eve” appears in “The Twelve Poems of Christmas, Volume Five”, selected by Carol Ann Duffy (Candlestick Press, £4.95)