In the latest in my ongoing series of sepulchral poems, today this delightfully festive icicle-evoking hymn, composed by Christina Rossetti on the occasion of former SNP Transport Minister, Stewart Stevenson's disappearance in a political snowdrift. Happily, Jack Frost seems to have been kindly to me this Friday and I successfully navigated my way north back up to Scotland without delay or incident. Above, (left) you can see an artist's impression of my great traipse from the balmy English lowlands to the parched-drowned white-capped girning landscape of fair Scotia, mounted atop my faithful bovine retainer, Jean-Jacques Rousseau. After gulping down a peaty slurp of Laphroaig and flinging a warming clod on the fire, I turned my attention to affairs of the day and the frozen oblivion to which Stevenson has been consigned. Conjured up from a cloud of smoke like the Ghost of Christmas Past, the good dame Rossetti began to sing the following verse. As luck would have it, I had a pencil to hand and managed to scribble her words down before she exploded in a shower of ectoplasmic shards. If you are keen to sing along, do play the melodic-melancholic version included below, which I think captures Stevenson's undoubted sense of professional bereavement and the lasting paranoia which this Winter's Tale will leave him with. As a certain English playwright once put it, "A sad tale's best for winter. I have one of sprites and goblins..."
Its Beaker's Midwinter
~ Christina Rossetti
♫ “Its Beaker's midwinter,” frosty Gray made moan,
“Weather Himalayan!” cried Bella like a crone;
“Snow has fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
Its Beaker's midwinter,” said I had to go. ♫
♫ Oor Eck, they cannot gub Him, my career sustains;
Tavish he shall flee away, no Snow Court arraign.
"Its a freak midwinter”, that stable place sufficed.
The Maximum Eck Almighty, save me from the ice! ♫
♫ Not enough for Gray bonce and his wintr'y mass.
Stevenson's a donkey, an incomp'tent ass
Striving some hay to make, hoot "turn him into glue";
"Its Beaker's midwinter! We blame the snaw on you".♫
♫ Lorries and commuters may have gathered there,
Snowflakes and blizzards may have thronged the air;
But I tried my hardest, slipped arse o'er tit,
Live in fear of snowmen, dread their frozen kiss.♫
♫ What can I give Eck, poor as I am?
If I was a muppet, t'was just a little jam!
If voters were much wiser, they'd travel just by yak;
But I'll send my resignation, before I get the sack.♫