A Christmas Song

Why is the baby crying
On this, his special day,
When we have brought him lovely gifts
And laid them on the hay?

He's crying for the people 
Who greet this day with dread
Because somebody dear to them
Is far away or dead,

For all the men and women
Whose love affairs went wrong,
Who try their best at merriment
When Christmas comes along,

For seperated parents
Whose turn it is to grieve
While children hang their stockings up
Elsewhere on Christmas Eve,

For everyone whose burden,
Carried through the year,
Is heavier at Christmastime,
The season of good cheer.

That's why the baby's crying
There in the cattle stall:
He's crying for those people.
He's crying for them all. 


from Family Values (Faber, 2011), © Wendy Cope 2011, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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Wendy Cope

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1An Attempt at Unrhymed Verse

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2From Strugnell's Sonnets: The expense of spirits is a crying shame...

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3God and The Jolly Bored Bog-Mouse

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4Strugnell's Haiku

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5Waste Land Limericks

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6A Policeman's Lot

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7Reading Scheme

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8A Nursery Rhyme as it might have been written by William Wordsworth

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9A Nursery Rhyme as it might have been written by T. S. Eliot

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10Rondeau Redoublé

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11My Lover

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12Tich Miller

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13Flowers

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14Defining the Problem

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15Loss

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16Some More Light Verse

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17Favourite

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18Another Unfortunate Choice

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19A Christmas Poem

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20Kindness to Animals

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21Names

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22The Uncertainty of the Poet

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23In The Rhine Valley

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24After the Lunch

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25Nine-line Triolet

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26Valentine

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27Leaving

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28Bloody Men

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29As Sweet

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30The Christmas Life

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31By The Round Pond

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32Haiku: Looking Out of the Back Bedroom Window without My Glasses

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33Timekeeping

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3430th December

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35Differences of Opinion (i) He Tells Her

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36Differences of Opinion (ii) Your Mother Knows (unpublished)

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37The Sitter

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38Les Vacances

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39Being Boring

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40On a Train

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41Spared

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42An Anniversary Poem

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43The Month of May

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1A Christmas Song

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2Christmas Ornaments

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3Cathedral Carol Service

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4Differences of Opinion

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5Daily Help part 1

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6Boarders parts 1 and 3

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7Brahms Cradle Song

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8Greydawn

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9At Stafford Services

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10At the Poetry Conference

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11The Health Scare

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12Once I'm Dead

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13My Funeral

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14Seeing You

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15Macedonia 1987

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16Dutch Portraits

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17At Steep

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18An Anniversary Poem 2

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19Spared 2

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20Another Valentine

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21The Cougher

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22The Widow

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23The Archers and Adultery

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24Closedown

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25Reunion

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26Evidence

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27A Little Tribute to John Cage

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28On a Photograph of the Archbishop of Canterbury

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29Shakespeare at School

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30On Sonnet 18

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31Orb

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32A Vow

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33By the River

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34Here We Are

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35The Damage to the Piano

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36Men Talking

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37Absent Friends

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38A Poem About Jesus

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