Poems and readings for carol services and other Christmas events, widely used in the UK and elsewhere. Free of charge for any not-for-profit event or publication.
for more information about permissions.
Most of these pieces were
created for the carol service at St John's, West Ealing, London, from 1988 to 2019.
Longer poems. For a good length, reassuring Christmas poem (2-5 minutes, and not requiring great acting skills) try Joseph and the shepherds, Poem for Christmas Eve or the more recent Gabriel's revelation.
What kind of Messiah? is a tongue-in-cheek reflection on what we really want to be saved from. Skin starts at Christmas and imagines Christ's life from the senses of his human body. In The magi at the empty manger we take on the roles both of the bringers and the users of the three gifts. The last poem in the Magi sequence, The epiphany, can also be used effectively on its own as a longer reading.
for one or more performers acting
out a particular role are Light
of the world and A child is born,
the last of which works particularly
well if you can use Powerpoint or similar slides to go through
Incarnate is a serious piece, not too long, but with the broadest scope of any, a two-part telling of the story within universal history, usable as a single poem or to split into a "prologue" and "epilogue" to an event.
The most recent poem is The
(good)will of the people,
a Brexit-influenced rewrite of Luke's angels/shepherds story
which was widely used and published in the Church Times in 2019 but less than topical at the end of 2021. Likewise the
mock bulletin News
just in is fun but in need of updating: both are included for completeness.
Shorter poems. As well as those listed, any of The last straw can be used as short poems on their own - The word, The nativity and The magi probably best - as might the shorter poems from A Christmas commentary.
are four sequences which were created
as narrative frameworks for a whole service or
concert when mixed
with other elements:
The last straw
comprises eight short
poems acting as introductions to some of the usual carol service bible
The four longer poems of Magi provide a contemporary interpretation of the story which can be shared among any number of voices.
Others have created other combinations of these poems to tell the story: feel free to do so. If you choose to use any of these in your events, or have other comments about them which you think may be helpful to me or others, please let me know.