CHRISTMAS DAY
IN THE JAILHOUSE
by
John Bilsborough 1970

'Twas Christmas Day in the jailhouse, and as night slowly fell,
A prisoner sat and shivered in his lonely little cell.
He'd only the cold to remind him of the festive time of year,
As he raised a hand to brush away the memories, and a tear.

Then, through a tiny hole in the wall that he hadn't seen before,
He heard the sound of a soft 'Hello', from the man in the cell next door.
'Oh, who are you? Is it really true? Can I hear a human voice ?
Oh, now is the time to be happy! Now is the time to rejoice!

Though a cold stone wall divides us, we can surely offer praise!
In fellowship I greet you on this happiest of days!'
'It may be a time to be happy,' said the voice, 'at least, for you.
I'm due to be hanged tomorrow, which can alter your point of view.

Still, it has its compensations,' the voice from nowhere said.
'I can have what I like for my very last meal - I've ordered a damn good spread.
It's turkey and chips for tea tonight, and brussels sprouts and peas,
And cranberry sauce and gravy... I can have just what I please!

And Christmas pudding, with holly on, and a bottle of Beaujolais,
And biscuits and cheese and cocoa, and nothing at all to pay.
It's almost worthwhile being hanged, for such a splendid treat,
And I'm going to pull a cracker, before I start to eat...'

And though the two were divided by the cold stone prison wall,
For a moment the world was happy, and peace reigned over all.
'And what have you got for tea tonight?', the man who was condemned said.
'Oh, only a mug of cold water, and a little piece of bread.'

'But now is the time for fellowship! It doesn't seem right to me,
That you get bread and water, and I get a slap-up tea.
So, pass me your piece of bread, my friend, and I'll tell you what I'll do -
I'll make you a turkey butty, with cranberry sauce on, too.'

So, he did what the voice had told him, as people often will.
And he waited for his sandwich... He's probably waiting still.
So, don't you listen to voices, that come through a hole in the wall.
Though it's not a feast, dry bread, at least, is better than bugger-all.
The end