when the worst human
nature can do has been done
— hope is discovered
in the ritual sharing
of hot mulled wine at Christmas

I dreamed I was ladling out some kind of drink. It could have been soup. Or hot mulled wine. With me was Barbara Windsor. In another part of the dream I was in bed with the Queen Mother. Both these women were important to me at a symbolic level, in the eighties. They both appeared to me as having something of the goddess about them. The poem is really a reflection on how it feels in reality, at that moment when you reach down with the ladle into the mulled wine — a profound connection with so many thousand years of human history — since the time the very first apemen and women cupped their hands and offered a drink to another apeman or woman. And I felt that connection reaching forwards into the future too. Whatever happens on our planet in terms of climate change and the collapse of civilisation, or not, there will still be hope, there will still be this kind of ritual. There are also resonances for me with my personal life at the moment. Still suffering the shockwaves within, from my own behaviour towards my stepdaughter last week, in helping throw out her old schoolbooks behind her back. And beginning to realise it is not the end of the world. Or maybe it is. But that doesn’t preclude a rebirth of hope. I have always loved mulled wine at Christmas, and it also happens to be something my stepdaughter loves too.


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