It’s that time of year again

1 December 2010 § 1 Comment

One of my favourite poems is ‘McCavity, The Mystery Cat’ from TS Eliot’s ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.’ I wrote this affectionate parody with my daughter, who when asked what she’d been doing at school replied wearily: “Nativity, Nativity…” After that, it pretty much wrote itself.

NATIVITY, THE MYSTERY ACT
(with apologies to TS Eliot)

Nativity, Nativity, there’s nothing like Nativity,
Engulfing everybody in a whirlwind of activity
Assembling angels, soldiers, Magi, townsfolk, shepherds, sheep,
The Virgin Mary, Joseph and a baby (fast asleep).
And when Year Five’s in uproar and Reception’s stiff with fear
I tell you once and once again: Nativity is here!

Rehearsals happen daily and go on for hours and hours,
Till even Mrs Brown is at the limits of her powers;
Each time the boys attempt their song the quality declines,
Now Balthazar’s gone AWOL; Mary hasn’t learned her lines.
The soldiers miss their cue (again) and come on far too late
And Herod stands and trembles like a jelly on a plate.

Nativity, Nativity, there’s nothing like Nativity
To bring out children’s acting talent, wit and sensitivity:
The innkeeper plays it for laughs (he has us all in stitches)
While Joseph jumps a yard each time the donkey’s tail twitches.
And now we wonder where time’s gone: what happened to this year?
Ay there’s the wonder of the thing: Nativity is here!

Mrs Brown attempts to get the Juniors in the mood
By dancing: what they think I could not say (it’s far too rude).
She waves her arms and jumps about and does all kinds of jiggles;
Meanwhile the children in Year Five collapse in fits of giggles.
They won’t line up or stand up straight; it’s turned her hair quite white
Which prompts the Head to intervene and give them all a fright.

The angels hate their haloes: they say the tinsel’s very rough.
They scratch their heads and fidget – must they make them from this stuff?
The shepherds squirm and chatter, fight and pull each other’s hair.
Their tea-towels keep on slipping. Mrs B is in despair.
But somehow it will all work out and come right, never fear
So we can say with certainty: Nativity is here!

Nativity, Nativity, there’s nothing like Nativity
The Infants make a racket like baboons kept in captivity.
They have their own performance that’s as sweet as it is short,
Their parents reach for hankies; the Juniors simply snort.
An entertainment guaranteed to make you shed a tear
So grab the Kleenex, take your seats – NATIVITY IS HERE!

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