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Winter Song - Lindisfarne

In these days of commerciality, of war unopposed if not endorsed by "Christian" nations, of poverty and homelessness, I wonder how rigorously these subjects will be addressed in the midnight masses and Christmas morning services around the world.

They could do worse than sing Alan Hull's beautiful, no-nonsense ballad that lays bare the hypocrisies of the festive season. Here's the songsheet, get there early, slip it in the hymn books and sing along with Yuletide gusto; and then go home.

"When winter's shadowy fingers

first pursue you down the street

and your boots no longer lie

about the cold around your feet

do you spare a thought for summer

whose passage is complete

whose memories lie in ruins

and whose ruins lie in heat

when winter comes howling in?

When the wind is singing strangely

blowing music through your head

and your rain splattered windows

make you decide to stay in bed

do you spare a thought for the homeless tramp

who wishes he was dead

or do you pull your bedclothes higher,

dream of summertime instead

when winter comes howling in?

The creeping cold has fingers

that caress without permission

and mystic crystal snowdrops

only aggravate the condition

do you spare one thought for the gypsy

with no secure position

who's turned and spurned by village and town

at the magistrate's decision

when winter comes howling in?

When the turkey's in the oven

and the Christmas presents are bought

and Santa's in his module

-he's an American astronaut-

do you spare one thought for Jesus

who had nothing but his thoughts

who got busted just for talking

and befriending the wrong sorts

when winter comes howling in?

When winter comes howling in."


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