merry christmas...(of the yore kind)

loved always that door of teak
polished shiny with copper bangles
and the graveled pathway that led
to that door kept opened from evening on for children like us
to run to and fro through the legs
of adult members of the town...
little bulbs were hung around the trees...
and four rows of wooden benches were dusted and cleaned...
special candles were delivered...
by a small van...with a grinning front...

At midnight...for the mass...
we used to come again...this time properly dressed...
in black and white...
Father Mathew in his whites
looked impeccable and somewhat alien to us...
He never smiled at us...that night...
he would keep lips held tight...
probably he had been himself a bit tensed
to stand and deliver before the townsfolk dense...
And also there would be some monastic guests...
From the city cathedral...
And everyone opened their books...
we also opened our own...
though our eyes hovered around...
What our friends were positioned...
whose dad looked particularly fearsome...
After the prayers we loved to stand
in the queue to kiss Old Father's shaking hand...
and he also seemed a bit relieved
with the biggest ceremony being over...
and as the adults hugged each other and wished
we got time again to run and play...
the night never looked like a night but a day!
No one slept...
No tears were shed...
as if happiness had been the only choice
of all people around...to sing...and dance...and to embrace...
That small chapel...
that old Father Mathew...
and that graveled path...
That 'Merry Christmas'
and midnight mass...
I miss...


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