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22 December 2015

“Lineage”: A new poem by Carol Ann Duffy

"The ancient law: / the mass cannot be sung / without the wax".

By Carol Ann Duffy

Child, stardust, small wonder
you look up tonight
to wish on old light.
I sense my mother’s spirit
in the room. Time
has made her a prayer for us.

A wish and a prayer at Christmas
and you either or both.
I hoped for nothing more.

The ancient law:
the mass cannot be sung
without the wax
because the lineage of bees
is from Paradise.

Carol Ann Duffy is the Poet Laureate. Her Collected Poems is newly published by Picador. “Lineage” appears in The Twelve Poems of Christmas: Volume Seven, selected and introduced by Duffy and published by Candlestick Press at £4.95 (

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This article appears in the 14 Dec 2015 issue of the New Statesman, Christmas and New Year special