Tidings – A Christmas Journey


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Tidings – A Christmas Journey is a classic fable for Christmas, reminiscent of those by Dickens and Dylan Thomas. It explores the heart of Christmas, showing us celebrations down the ages and across the globe as Christmas dawn sweeps in from East Australia to Bethlehem, London and the Statue of Liberty in New York, and we follow the London Christmas day of a homeless man and a little girl. Dedicated to the ‘Focus’ outreach team for the Street Populations of Camden, London, this is Christmas in all its magic, reminding us that it is a time not only of good tidings but of loneliness, longing, compassion and connection. Beautifully illustrated and exquisitely musical, Tidings is a poem to be read out loud and cherished.

From reviews:

‘Ruth Padel’s wise, eloquent, unsentimental narrative about a homeless man at Christmas is a literary and emotional feat,’ Kate Kellaway, Observer

‘Padel knows comfort and joy are no more reliable at Christmas than any other time. Her poem is magical because it acknowledges hardship, struggle and unpredictable reality. She identifies Christmas, attractively, as a volatile moment, but also a potential turning point. The structure is aerial, as if, in a midwinter’s dream, she had put a girdle round the Earth, allowing us to see Christmas dawn in Australia,  London, ancient and modern Bethlehem.

Padel does not offer pat morals or incredible endings. What she does, brilliantly, is to see off the sense of resignation that can set in at Christmas. Tidings is an eloquent reminder that life is hard, kindness is all and that the Christmas story goes deep. It is a moving poem. just asking to be read aloud, with different people playing each part – angel, child, tramp, fox and helper.’

‘Such a beautiful poem: it will become a Christmas tradition to read it every year in our home.’ ***** Goodreads

‘It was read aloud as suggested and thoroughly enjoyed. A modern classic and surely will become a Christmas tradition, no doubt a Christmas film at some point. Poignant and descriptive, a beautiful book and a much appreciated Christmas gift.’ ***** Amazon reader

Listen to Ruth reading from Tidings  in the Serpentine Gallery.