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TidingsTidings is a narrative poem in three movements about Christmas, homelessness and sunrise. It opens on Christmas Eve, the one moment in the year when Charoum, the Angel of Silence, is able to speak.

Here is the opening to Tidings

The Voice of Silence

I am the oldest angel, the dark side of the brain.
Everything untold, suppressed, unseemly or wild
is under my protection. I am Charoum,
Angel of Silence. I am the seed of fire
in a hearth you thought was cold,
the stillness when you step into moonlit snow
and who you are in private. I appear
whenever surface cracks,
lustre and veneer rub thin. Silence, you say,
when you make room for wonder.
I am less and less here. But tonight, for twenty-four
strange hours in the darkness of the year, I have a voice –

For this is Christmas Eve when everything hidden
comes alive. Children’s toys
that have rolled under a sofa, or stayed
in the cupboard unplayed-with for years,
the mice you weren’t aware of in the wall,
and your own unspoken longing to be given
something more by life: suddenly, if you listen,
all unnoticed things can talk. And so can I. Tonight
I play a part in everyone’s secret search
for something better. Come with me
to St Pancras Old Church, on a little London hill
runed with twenty centuries of human stories.

Nearby, shops are closing on Camden High Street,
Euston Road. The sky is that bruise-colour
you hardly think is sky, and sodium lights
from the station terminal
flicker in glass sides of the bus shelter
like a zodiac on mica.
London’s neon glory falls
on wet-purple tarmac of Royal
College Street and its last-minute traffic:
on roadworks, traffic cones, surveillance cameras
above the door of a homeless hostel
and the final Eurostar before the Christmas break.