Christmas rhymes for Norfolk writer
Matthew Pickhaver, who lives in North Norfolk, has just published two books of poetic plays on the theme of Christmas, and they are now available to buy.
During the early 2000s Matthew wrote a series of Christmas plays for his then Key Stage 2 primary school classes to perform. This year, for the first time, he has published two of them in print for others to enjoy.
Christmas: The True Story tells of the birth of Jesus In seven parts. Based on the Bible's account found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, it avoids some of those traditional nativity inaccuracies. For example, it doesn't take place in winter, and an unspecified number of wise men visit the manger much later than the shepherds!
A Different Christmas Carol is a reworking of Charles Dickens’ famous festive novella about the miserly moneylender, Scrooge. The three ghosts are replaced by two angels and the change in Scrooge's character is linked more closely to the real message of Christmas expressed, for example, in 1 Timothy 1:15 or 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Matthew, pictured right, says, “Both books are in rhyming verse throughout and presented without the clutter of stage directions on the page so that they can simply be read and enjoyed as poems. But they can still be adapted easily into a dramatic production with your own school or church group and suggestions for doing so are included. They are ideal Christmas stocking-fillers for young and older alike.”
Below – exclusively for Network Norfolk – is an extract from each book.
The books are £3.50 each, with free postage, and can be purchased by clicking here.
To find out more, e-mail Matthew at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Christmas: The True Story, From Part III...
Now all the people in that land were under Roman rule.
Their kings were known as Caesars (you’ll have learned them all at school).
At this time one Augustus was the man with all the power
And he decided taxing was the order of the hour.
‘Everyone,’ he ordered, ‘Must be counted and must pay!
It will all be easier if it’s done this way:
Everyone must travel now, from tomorrow morn,
To the city, town or village where their ancestors were born.’
For Joseph and for Mary, well, it was a shock for them
For they would have to travel all the way to Bethlehem,
The little city David had once lived in – king and prince,
And therefore both their families had come from there ever since.
But the time was drawing nearer when the baby son was due
And Joseph did what any caring man would want to do.
He planned to take her with him – to stay close to his wife.
He knew that she was carrying a very special life.
So with Mary on a donkey, bearing such a precious load
They walked right out of Nazareth and braced the open road.
They kept on plodding onwards in the heat and in the light,
Resting by a makeshift fire in the dark of night.
The country lanes were busy as others travelled too.
For sixty miles they journeyed till the town came into view,
But Bethlehem was crowded – they wished they’d made less stops.
It was busier than Christmas time in the high street shops..!
A Different Christmas Carol, From Stave II...
Scrooge is on his own now – the way he likes to be.
He’s had a sumptuous supper and has just sat down to read,
Not anything of interest but his income and accounts,
He seems to measure happiness in monetary amounts.
The clock it ticks towards the coming, silent midnight hour,
He doesn’t know he’s watched as ever, by a heav’nly power,
He ignores the distant church bells as they chime and clang
But of this night it will be said, ‘The herald angels sang!’
As shadows dance about the walls from flick’ring candle flame,
Softly and from somewhere he thinks he hears his name.
“Ebenezer, Ebenezer, Ebenezer Scrooge!”
“I must have indigestion – I’ve eaten too much food!”
But the figure now appearing in a sudden blaze of light
Is far too real to be the product of his latest bite.
Scared stiff he falls upon the floor and finds to no relief,
This visitor is more than bits of undigested beef.
“Who are you?” Scrooge cries out as he stays on bended knee,
“Is this now an angel that before me I can see?”
“I am an Angel of the Lord, sent from up above
To bring a message to you of Christmas and God’s love,
To show you that your ways are wrong and simply cannot last.
I can as I’m the Angel of Christmas that is Past.
I’ll take you on a journey through your cares and hopes and dreams
Till you see the consequences of how you’ve always been...”