Christmas poems by Carol Ann Duffy

14 December 2016

It's just not Christmas without a festive poem from the Poet Laureate. 

The King of Christmas

The King of Christmas

Illustrated by Lara Hawthorne

On a frosty winter evening, the Baron watches the snow fall. He is bored and worried. It will soon be Christmas and everything is too quiet. What can he do to bring excitement to the Manor?

His wife, the Baroness, has an idea: he can appoint a King of Christmas, a peasant to take his place. And so begin twelve days of chaos, anarchy and merriment...

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The Wren-Boys

The Wren-Boys

Illustrated by Dermot Flynn

It is a cold day in Ireland, the 26th of December; frost lies thick on the blackthorn. A man walks the just-waking village, banging on every door, summoning the boys. Today is St. Stephen's Day, when legend has it that the Saint was betrayed by a wren's call, and the boys are off to the forest where they hope to find the traitorous bird and capture it by nightfall. But what will they do if their prey escapes them?

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The Christmas Truce

The Christmas Truce

Illustrated by David Roberts

Down at the Front, on a cold winter's night in 1914, amidst the worst war the world had ever seen, an inexplicable silence spread from man to man. Belief was in the air. Then the soldiers ceased fire and the magic of Christmas took hold . . .

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Another Night Before Christmas

Another Night Before Christmas

Illustrated by Rob Ryan

It's the night before Christmas and a young girl creeps down the stairs, determined to find out for certain whether Santa is real . . . But try as she might, she can't keep awake and is soon fast asleep.

She doesn't stir, even when Santa and his reindeer land on her roof-top - but then, when he bursts out of her fireplace, she wakes to a room filled with magic.

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Mrs Scrooge

Mrs Scrooge

Illustrated by Posy Simmonds

With her husband, Ebenezer, now 'doornail dead', the coldest Christmas Eve on record finds Mrs Scrooge outside the supermarket, protesting against consumerism and waste. Just as Ebenezer did, Mrs Scrooge keeps to her frugal ways . . . but with the current state of the world, perhaps Mrs Scrooge has the right idea.

That night, alone in her bed with Catchit the cat beside her, Mrs Scrooge is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. As each in succession takes her by the hand and sweeps through the scenes of her life, Mrs Scrooge learns not only what the 'Christmas Spirit' really means, but the nature of the real gifts we give and receive.

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Dorothy Wordsworth's Christmas Birthday

Dorothy Wordsworth's Christmas Birthday

Illustrated by Tom Duxbury

It is Christmas Eve, 1799, and Dorothy Wordsworth is awake in the dead of night. She stands outside in the winter cold, waiting patiently.

When the new day breaks it will bring family and friends to Dorothy's door. For tomorrow is a double joy: tomorrow is her Christmas Birthday.

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Bethlehem

Bethlehem

Illustrated by Alice Stevenson

Bethlehem is normally a quiet little town on the edge of the desert. But tonight, as dusk falls, there is a sense of something special in the air.

An inn packed with revellers, shepherds sprawled on the grass, animals in their stables: everything will be changed when a bright star bearing news arrives in the sky.

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Wenceslas

Wenceslas

Illustrated by Stuart Kolakovic

Beginning with the King's Cook, who is preparing a sumptuous Christmas Pie, Wenceslas takes us to a medieval feast.

The lords and ladies are at their places, the wine is in full flow, the musicians are playing in the gallery and the entertainment has begun. All should be perfect. But when the good King looks up from his table he sees something more than just snow, falling deep and crisp and even . . .

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Watch our beautiful animation to celebrate this year's Christmas poem from Carol Ann Duffy, The King of Christmas.

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