Nova Scotia

Tanya Davis's Love As Well As Gifts poem explores complex side of Christmas

Singer, songwriter, actress and former poet laureate Tanya Davis read "Love As Well As Gifts" during CBC Halifax’s Information Morning annual radio show in support of Feed Nova Scotia.

Davis read poem during CBC Halifax's Information Morning show in support of Feed Nova Scotia

Singer, songwriter, actress and Halifax's former poet laureate, Tanya Davis, hoped to capture the complex emotions Christmas brings for many families in her poem, Love As Well As Gifts. (CBC)

Christmas isn't all joyful glee. Many people experience loneliness and sadness — a stark contrast of what the holiday is meant to represent. 

Singer, songwriter, actress and Halifax's former poet laureate, Tanya Davis, hoped to capture that contrast in Love As Well As Gifts, which she read during CBC Halifax's Information Morning annual radio show in support of Feed Nova Scotia.

Davis, who does not celebrate Christmas, describes it is a complex time of year.

"[It's] very emotional. More melancholy than joyful for me at least, and I don't think I'm alone in that and I think that there's a lot of things to talk about," Davis said. 

Even those who don't celebrate Christmas can often get caught in the seasonal hustle and bustle, she says. Not all families can be joyful through a season that isn't always "all white and fluffy," she says, which makes her "fascinated with the subject." 

"This makes it a good time for people to ramp up efforts to raise fund for others who are less fortunate," she said.

"How sad the world is and the things we're having to do right now, like welcome a lot of refugees. It's so good we can, and it's so bad that we have to." 

Love As Well As Gifts

by Tanya Davis 

What if angels were just people having generous days

and the realms of glory were all the world's corners from which they came

and the night was silent 'cause no one was crying out in loneliness or pain?

What if coming home for christmas meant you never had to run again

and no bombs dropped and there really were good kings

and all ye faithful came together while having faith in different things. 

What if the most wonderful day of the year 

was 'cause peace on earth was finally here

no matter what or where we sing

This is my resilient daydream

I call it: joy to the world

I have it all year long

while I make my way through the world

I am not that strong

I crumble often from the truth 

like the fact that guns and bombs are still lawful things we use

and there's too much yet there's not enough food

and still the void we're aching with – the pain, the love, the wound

Meanwhile empty tables

meanwhile we sing carols preaching morals that we're scared of

we are wary more of strangers, giving gifts while building walls

It's a host of contradictions and christmas won't fix it

I crave connection as I close off to it.

Can you see me?

Do you hear what I hear, it's the sadness of humanity

it's the basic human joy 

it's the bonds thereof, it's the bombs of lost love

once we all have love enough – o holy night

And by the sun's returning shine I trust we will

in the meantime let us align our hearts with our goodwill

open arms for strangers seeking refuge in our midst

while welcoming our neighbours with love as well as gifts.


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