Christmas comes but once a year,
When in the northern hemisphere,
The cold winds blow, the sun goes down,
Now every day some children drown.
The Christmas story’s full of hope,
Yet life and death hang by a rope.
It’s not the sword of Damocles,
It’s shipwreck in the angry seas.
The icy waves show no remorse.
But terror is the driving force.
Ten million people, maybe more,
Are out there knocking at our door,
For years we’ve boasted of our wealth,
Yet cannot fund the nation’s health.
We cannot house our country’s poor,
And so we guard the nation’s shore.
What’s Christmas if we cannot cope.
With those who have arrived in hope?
But what about the people here:
The old and needy live in fear,
The wards are full, the care homes few,
Classrooms crowded, and thousands queue
At shelters, hostels and the food bank?
This question always draws a blank.
Now terror stalks the Paris streets:
Diners murdered in their seats.
This carnage comes from overseas,
But doesn’t come with refugees.
My heart cries out for charity;
My head thinks of reality.
And what is worse I feel so hard,
Should I think ‘Not in my back yard’.
Andrew Ailes is a British foreign news veteran living in London.