The shift began at 2pm.
On a Friday Christmas Eve.
Unhappy few, unlucky crew,
Who don’t get Christmas leave.
Two minutes in, the three nines bell
Rings out its strident pitch.
“RTA at Limetree Lane.
Three cars, one in a ditch.”
Blue lights on, plus yelp and wail,
To clear the way ahead.
“Charlie two! Police on scene
Report one driver dead.”
A sorry scene, with parcels strewn
Across the muddy lane.
All holly wrapped, with snowman card,
And love from Auntie Jane.
A sobbing man blows in the tube
Held by a lady cop.
She smells the whisky on his breath.
“Blow hard ‘til I say stop.”
One dead, one drunk, some broken bones,
And pending heartbreaks too.
Unhappy Christmas on the cards.
This day one man will rue.
At half-past-three, all scrubbed and clean,
With fresh sheets on the cot.
We go again, a boy’s been stabbed,
Outside the “Royal Yacht”.
A drunken crowd in Santa hats,
All mill around the boy.
They laugh, they jeer, they sing a song.
Is this their Christmas joy?
The lad was only slightly cut
With scissors, by his lass.
Oh! Happy Christmas, happy throng.
What joy has come to pass.
And so it went, no time for breaks,
As Joe Public ran wild.
With fights in pubs, and drunken teens.
What of the Holy Child?
A Granny rushing home with gifts,
Has fatal heart attack.
Somewhere, someone looks out for her,
But Gran’s not coming back.
A girl, no more than sixteen years,
Who Mum thinks safe and sound,
With blood and vomit down her clothes,
Is in a stupour found.
Then as the minutes ticked to twelve,
With shift-end drawing near.
Hard luck, we got another call,
The only crew that’s clear.
“It’s labour pains at Stable’s Farm.
The baby’s overdue.
We’ve called the duty midwife out,
Meanwhile it’s up to you.”
At Stable’s farm that joyous day,
I saw a new child born,
And understood the joy of life,
That holy Christmas morn.
I saw that mother’s smiling face,
Her sleeping baby boy.
Now there was peace throughout the world,
And all around was joy.