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The Christmas Tales Blogfest

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Here's my entry into Ellie Garratt's Christmas Tales Blogfest. The idea is to write a Chritsmas-related tale or poem, in any genre.

Now, my favourite Christmas carol is In The Bleak Midwinter, with words by Christina Rossetti - a poem which, as it happens, Rossetti herself wrote in response to a Christmas competition. But I was delighted to discover that an early draft of her work recently came to light, including a rarely-sung verse alluding to the plagues of zombies that so afflicted Victorian Britain. Rossetti, as you may know, was no stranger to speculative fiction, having previously written the poem Goblin Market, so it's perhaps no surprise that she chose to tackle the theme.

Here's the lost verse. It's best sung out loud to the tune composed by Gustav Holst :

        In the bleak midwinter
        Zombies woke and moaned,
        Dug through earth like iron
        Fingers shred to bone
        Slow, they shambled through the snow
        Coming to your homes,
        In midwinter, seeking
        Brains to go!

A shame, I think, this verse is now rarely used. Why not - ahem - resurrect it for your carol concert this Christmas?


  1. That's a rotten verse, Simon, ho ho ho...

  2. Thomas,

    I trust you sang it out loud?

  3. Christmas and zombies - pure genius! I bow my zombie head before you (apologies if it falls off and ruins your nice carpet). LOL.

    Thank you for taking part in my Christmas Tales Blogfest

  4. Nothing gets you in the Christmas spirit quite like a horde of zombies!

  5. well of course they came on Christmas. In the winter, people stayed inside and were much more difficult to capture.

    At Christmas, they were gathered all together and made it worth shredding their little fingers....

    this was, uh....strange. and really fun!

  6. Ellie,

    Thanks for dropping by and for organizing the Blogfest. Don't worry about the carpet. It's fine.

  7. Vicki,

    Absolutely! They're made for each other.

  8. Words Crafter,

    Heh. Strange and fun is good!

  9. I love this verse!! I am going caroling just to be able to sing this one vesre out loud. I think people will appreciate it, don[t you think?? :-)

    Yay!!! Take care

  10. Old Kitty,

    Oh yes, I'm sure they'll all love it. I have found myself singing it out loud I must admit!

  11. LOL, my girls would love it. Thanks for posting!

  12. Summer,

    Cool! Glad you enjoyed it.

  13. I sang your verse to my hubby who chuckled aloud. (Though I confess I added the word bleak to the last but one line so it would scan)We really enjoyed it especially as we've been to our Carols Service tonight and that was one of the Carols (minus that all important verse of course)we sang.


  14. Madeleine,

    Fantastic! Glad it raised a smile.

  15. That was so much fun. Great idea, I'm sure Rossetti would have approved.

  16. Thanks Elaine - I hope she would have approved!

  17. Hey there! Yep, I can just imagine a group of carollers singing about zombies who 'woke and moaned.'
    A unique entry in the blogfest. Thanks!

  18. I officially have a new favorite carol. Thanks, Simon!

  19. Hi Simon - I loved this!

    We have our carol service on Sunday evening ... and we are singing that very carol. I will give it to our choir master (my father-in-law as it happens) so that the carol can be made complete!

    I sang it in harmony btw!

  20. Dominic,

    Ah, fantastic. How I'd love to hear that!


I'd love to know what you think.