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Leave the turkeys alone As part of our 'Holiday Hits & Horrors' series, poet Bethany Williams looks to Benjamin Zephaniah for  inspiration...

Leave the turkeys alone

As part of our 'Holiday Hits & Horrors' series, poet Bethany Williams looks to Benjamin Zephaniah for inspiration...

by Jay Lewis, Reviews Editor
first published: December, 2023

approximate reading time: minutes

Come and join us/ with a mince pie and a hug/ Let us be kind/ to the people we love

It's the week before Christmas and Bethany Williams is dropping off copies of her debut collection of poetry at the Saturday Books shop in Dudley. Williams' book, 'Waiting for the blue' explores the nature of grief and loss. In particular, her own. Her poetry is an anthology that centres around grief, how it reshapes everything and shows how we can hold on to love in spite of it all. It is a collection that we can all relate to.

I first heard Bethany read from 'Waiting for the blue' a few weeks ago at a poetry breakfast organized by Saturday Books. From published poets to those that are doing their first open-mic poet, the readers share their work over coffee and croissants once a month. It is in this environment (MC Claire Tedstone describes it as 'we are just like a big family' ), that Bethany has, over the last two years, gone from quiet observer, to reluctant reader, to headliner. Her poetry is so open-hearted and sincere, he words are so visceral. She floored everyone

After her last reading, I asked Bethany if she could write something for OL's Holiday Hits and Horrors series. By the next day, she had sent me the following poem. You may gather that the reference to 'Benjamin' - is indeed 'Zephaniah' - whom Bethany has been a great admirer of for quite some time.

So, over to Bethany to ponder the pros and cons of the festive season.

Leave the turkeys alone

As Benjamin would've said -
leave the turkeys alone
Let's stop killing trees
and being glued to our phones

Crackers are fun
but they're always just tat
Presents upon presents
Glitzy this and shiny that

I don't want the gift  
you obligingly gave
I'd rather you didn't
and enjoyed the pennies you'd save
Commercialism gone mad
Old man with a beard
who breaks into houses
is just a little bit weird

He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
I think you have an intruder!
Call the police, for goodness sake!

Now it's nice to be friendly
and show people we care
but don't need to break the bank
just pull up a chair

Come and join us
with a mince pie and a hug
Let us be kind
to the people we love

And the people we don't like
well they need it too
They may have faced hardships
that we never knew

Though why do we wait
for a certain time of year?
To be a little kinder,
to spread a little cheer

What about all of
the rest of the time?
When we're not drinking hot chocolate
or sipping mulled wine

If we're relying on Christmas
to spread a little love
What can I say? ...

I think we're all fudged! 

Jay Lewis
Reviews Editor

Jay Lewis is a Birmingham based poet. He's also a music, movie and arts obsessive. Jay's encyclopedic knowledge of 80s/90s Arts films is a debt to his embedded status in the Triangle Arts Centre trenches back then.

about Jay Lewis »»



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