G K Chesterton

The House of Christmas

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay on their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost – how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky’s dome.

This world is wild as an old wives’ tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.

Ogden Nash

The Hippopotamus

Behold the hippopotamus!
We laugh at how he looks to us,
And yet in moments dank and grim,
I wonder how we look to him.

Peace, peace, thou hippopotamus!
We really look all right to us,
As you no doubt delight the eye
Of other hippopotami.

David Ogilvy

When someone is made the head of an office in the Ogilvy & Mather chain, I send him a Matrioshka doll from Gorky. If he has the curiosity to open it, and keep opening it until he comes to the inside of the smallest doll, he finds this message: If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.

Robert Frost

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is in the village though.
He will not see me stopping here,
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer,
To stop without a farmhouse near,
Between the woods and frozen lake,
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake,
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep,
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Roger McGough

A Dada Christmas Catalogue

A chocolate comb
A can of worms opener
A non-stick frying pan
Two sticky frying pans
A book end
Abrasive partridges
An inflatable fridge
Nervous door handles
A mobile phone booth
An overnight tea-bag
Day-glo tippex
Underwater ash-tray
15 amp bath plug
Pair of socks. Identical but for the colour
Box of Tunisian (past their sell-by) dates
See-through elastoplasts
Nasal floss (unwaxed)
A canteen of magnetic cutlery
A hip joint
A groovy cartiledge
Three way mirror
Not a pipe

Kit Wright

Red Boots On

Way down Geneva
All along Vine,
Deeper than the snowdrift
Love’s eyes shine:

Mary Lou’s walking
In the winter time.

She’s got

Red boots on, she’s got
red boots on,
Kicking up winter
Till the winter’s gone.


Go by Ontario,
Look down Main,
If you can’t find Mary Lou.
Come back again:

Sweet light burning
in winter’s flame.

She’s got

Snow in her eyes, got
a tingle in her toes
and new red boots on
wherever she goes.


All around Lake Street,
Up by St. Paul,
Quicker than the white wind
Love takes all:

Mary Lou’s walking
In the big snow fall.

She’s got

Red boots on, she’s got
red boots on,
Kicking up winter
Till the winter’s gone.

George Herbert

The Quiddity

My God, a verse is not a crown,
No point of honour, or gay suit,
No hawk, or banquet, or renown,
Nor a good sword, nor yet a lute.

It cannot vault, or dance, or play ;
It never was in France or Spain ;
Nor can it entertain the day
With a great stable or domain.

It is no office, art, or news ;
Nor the Exchange, or busy Hall :
But it is that which, while I use,
I am with Thee : and Most take all.