A Christmas Carol

By Terence Davies


For Andi Engel, who died on Boxing Day, 2006, at Lubeck

Close all the doors
Switch off all the lights
Surrender to the final dark.

Don’t be afraid.
For fear is nothing but a cessation of hope
And hope the remnants of the times gone by.

Let fall all that once sustained,
Let go all that purred with pleasure,
Release the heart from duty to the past.


And as the carols fade
And all our old assurance wanes
Have a care for might-have-beens

And what-once-was and is no more.
Cover all the heartache,
Lay to rest those mangered days

Which, swaddled in the dreamtime
Of your life, felt balm-like
In the gathering dusk.


Close the heart
(don’t give it pause)
Cease to feed upon the childhood time

Which now recedes with every year
’til it too will cease to be
Or be forgotten in the fog of age.

Try for that becalming source –
Forgetfulness of youth’s decay –
Kill the romance of the soul

Then let the sun go on its way.

Terence Davies is a filmmaker. A season of his films plays at London’s BFI Southbank in April.