A Christmas Poem by Carol Ann Duffy
Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy has an annual tradition of publishing a specially written Christmas poem. The subject of 'The Wren Boys’ is the old Irish country tradition on St. Stephen’s Day of ‘hunting the wren’ – where local boys would dress up as mummers, catch the bird and parade it around town.
Meeting the Poet Laureate
Here's me meeting with Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy at the official launch for 'The Wren Boys' at Goldsboro Books on the Charing Cross Road.
A creature of legend
The wren has a lousy reputation. It apparently caused the death of the first Christian martyr, Saint Stephen, when it noisily betrayed his presence to his enemies. And in one of Aesop’s fables, when the wren and the eagle challenged each other to see who could fly the highest, the wren rested on the eagle’s back, and when the eagle tired, the wren flew out above him, proving that cleverness is better than strength.
'......and the boots of the boys blotted the page of the field / as they made for the margins- the ditches and hedgerows.'
'.... the drystone wall / where a wren, size of a child’s lost purse, / hides in a hole. St. Stephen’s Day.