"THE YULE OF THE TURKEYS
The followers of Jesus of Nazareth observe it,
usually a fortnight early
to suit the lovers of saturnalia.
Countries ruled by Jesus' followers observe it,
to please the partizans of the total state.
Those who disbelieve in the one god or demon
join in at it,
because they have not yet been slain before Him,
tho loathed by the devilish-divine Lord-God.
Those who are not wholly hetero are gay at it,
which will be holily for the same reason
in this season.
Those who lack the virtue of being male
keep house at it,
because they have not been conscientized so far
Since this poem is being used as material for the novel
Triptych of Times,
you are presently being given free access to less than a third of it.
With a questioning glance Cathleen looks up. What will the others
at the table think of it? But she has hardly finished reading out
Sophy's Christmas reply card, when a heavy burst of reactions follows.
"A load of crap! I've never heard such rubbish in my whole
life", or something to that effect her father exclaims. Angrily
he takes a bone and starts tearing the meat from it with his
teeth. Reminded of the cards the family have received from
people they have forgotten to send one to themselves, and of the
cards they have sent to people from whom they have not received
one in return, he is the more angry.
"That's really outrageous!" says her mother, thinking of the
gorgeous plump, trussed and skewered turkey that she had the
pleasure of cooking; and of the man who had prodded it several
times at the breastbone to show how good it was.
"What a nasty nonsense", Dominick, her boyfriend, remarks after
having been served lavishly to large pieces of fowl and splashes
of sauce. "Christianist -- ever heard a more awkward word than
that? How unpoetic you can get!"
The two other people present, her grandmother and her brother,
remain silent. They appear to be mesmerized by the food heaped
up on their plates and the warm mouth-watering odor emanating
from it. In actual fact, however, Theodore, her brother, is too
much baffled by a few lines which arouse his curiosity but seem
to require some arcane knowledge he does not have. And Granny
somehow cannot find the right words to describe what she senses:
a distasteful combination of confusion and revulsion.
"Does anyone of you want to keep this card and add it to our
collection?" Cathleen asks.
Lifting his head from the bone and pointing at the open
fireplace in the room, her father answers:
"Throw it into the fire -- that's where it belongs".
The others agree or fail to disagree.
Cathleen gets up, tears the card into dozens of shreds, and
drops them above the fire. The little pieces of paper whirl down
like snowflakes. When reaching the hot flames underneath they do
not turn into water and steam tho; into tiny black bits of ash
they turn. Cathleen smiles. "Still, I think the little drawings
of turkeys on it were rather cute", she muses. While walking
back to the dinner table she has one more look at the family's
marvelous collection of Christmas cards. It seems that every one
of them tries to outshine its neighbor. Its thoughts are the
warmest, its wishes the best, its wintry fairyland the snowiest.
No detergent could compete with these whiter-than-white pictures
of human blessedness.
The radio, which is left on so soft that it does not
interfere with the talking and so loud that the music need not
be missed, plays Silent Night:
"Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin and her Child,
Holy Infant, so tender and mild ..."
Not a word about turkeys.
Outside a chill rain, violently driven forward by a storm,
taps on the windows, drowning out the dogs that have been
barking and howling for hours. It is one of several foul days in
a row: windy, dark and dank, with temperatures just above
freezing, so that it feels bitter cold. Even in this part of the
world so much closer to the abode of Father Christmas than where
the Child was born, the odds against snow on the 25th of
December are 20 to 1; the odds against snow on the ground and
a clear blue sky, perhaps, 50 to 1.
Yet, there are some very pleasant things which make up for the bad
weather, besides all the beautiful cards, and the fairy lights,
and the tree baubles. At no other time of the year are the shops
so well provided with goods and goodies. At no other time of the
year do you receive so many presents; from every friend and
relative, from people at work, and also from casual
acquaintances. It is a custom for adults to jolly one another into
telling little children that the toys in their stockings or
pillow cases --lead soldiers for the boy, a plastic
doll for the girl, among other things-- were put there
by Father Christmas, described as a genial old man with a long white
beard. Every child is made to believe that this saint of saints
by the name of Claus lives at the North Pole; that he travels
all the way to its home in red-and-white regalia on a sleigh
drawn by reindeer before coming down the chimney. (According to
Sophy the warlocks' betrayal of truth starts at an extremely
early age, not seldom at a child's birth.)
Where so many presents are received, there no fewer presents
have to be bought, granting that a self-made present is regarded
as an insult, even more so than a self-made card. Joseph,
Cathleen's father, does not really relish the shop till you
drop business. He would rather give presents at a time he feels
like it or on a personal occasion. However, in order to gild
the pill his wife had proposed that they go to London for a change.
This had turned out to be a good suggestion, for the displays in
the shopwindows certainly were more fantastic than they had ever
seen in the largest city of their own country. The enormous
bookshops in particular had drawn Joseph's attention, as he is
very interested in books. Of course, there were the typically UK
books about the One Family with fancy titles such as Royal
Ceremonies of State and even fancier ones such as Queen
So-And-So, The Queen Mother. They do not turn him on, but
what magnificent colors! (Apart from the people in the limelight,
who seemed glad to be snow-white.) Knowing that the tinsel of high
office does make his wife Mary swoon he had secretly bought the
Royal Ceremonies for her.
There was a window, too, chock-full of engrossing books about
the Great War, like World War I, Echos of Terror,
The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Military Vehicles, each one
of them of excellent quality. It was only equaled in splendor by
the next window with books like World War II, Modern
Military Aircraft and The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Fire
Arms. Joseph would have loved to buy the whole lot of them, save
that in the days before the Festival of Peace one is expected to buy
presents for others, not for oneself. The worst thing about this
obligatory show of goodwill is that he usually has no idea of
what his wife and mother need, what Cathleen and Theodore want,
and what his friends have got already.
"And, do you like the book?" Mary asks Joseph, referring to
the Illustrated Encyclopaedia she bought for him in London while
each of them had gone shopping on their own in the afternoon.
Her purchase had worked like a surefire charm, tho. She does
not need to ask him, for Joseph is an Aries with the traits of a
ram: energetic, forceful and fiery. Perhaps, also a little bit
militaristic, if the One Whose birthday they are now celebrating
had not said it Himself: "Think not that I am come to bring
peace on earth. I came not to send peace but a sword". In that
respect, too, he is in Good Company.
Since this story is being used as material for the novel
Triptych of Times,
you are presently being given free access to less than a quarter of it.
(For more info about this novel by Vincent van Mechelen see