Monday, December 27, 2010

‘Twas the night after Christmas...

‘Twas the night after Christmas, and all through the place,

A glazed-over expression appeared on each face.

The stockings, all emptied of each trinket and treat,

Were folded or crumpled or piled in a heap.

The children took hours to settle in beds,

The effects of the sugar-plums gone to their heads!

For each savvy shopper, their slumber, too, fails,

Their heads full of visions of post-Christmas sales!

And mama and daddy examining the toys

To learn how to silence each plaything’s loud noise!

The day had been one of exuberant clatter,

But now, in the quiet, it seemed not to matter.

The wadded-up gift wrap and bows filled the trash,

Along with plate-scrapings of “Holiday Hash.”

Footprints from each snowball fight track up the snow,

In spite of the temperature–14 below!

When what in my wandering mind should appear,

But visions of loved ones wishing holiday cheer.

The gathering was lively, but over too quick.

Time to put away reindeer and box up St Nick.

More rapid than eagles this holiday came,

And its speed of departure was roughly the same.

Now long lines to return! Now thoughts of Regiftin’!

Now dread of New Year’s Eve! Now credit bills drift in!

Lights to take off the porch, wreath removed from the wall!

Decorations dismantled, and stashed away all!

All the holly sprig’s vanished without any clue,

Packed away in the shed, and Ol’ Tannebaum, too!

The rooms now are emptied, and under this roof,

All trace of the season has disappeared! Poof!

Along with the decor and visitors around,

So my holiday spirit is gone. I’m let down!

The emptiness fills me from head to my foot,

My heart seems all tarnished with post-Christmas soot!

My eyes, how they twinkled! My feelings, how merry!

Now replaced with emotions quite to the contrary.

It happens each year, but I’m used to it, though:

That sense that inside, I’m as cold as the snow.

My jaw I will set. A smile clenched on my teeth,

And pretend to the world I’m just fine underneath.

I resolve to feel good and stop being so silly!

My resolve, it stands firm–like a bowl full of jelly.

My Christmas was over, and now I was blue.

With the big day completed, now what would I do?

Was there hope to recover? Diagnosis seemed bleak.

If I’m like this today, how will I be next week?

Then a tinkle rang out, and a crash from the hall!

So I sprang up to see what was causing it all!

The curio cabinet had fallen, because

It was bumped by a moose dressed up like Santa Claus--

Or at least he was wearing a red fur-trimmed hat

And a red strip-ed scarf which matched, perfectly, that!

His hair, brown and shaggy. His right ear, frost-bitten,

And over each hoof was a bulky wool mitten!

He looked up, embarrassed, his eyes full of feeling.

His great antlers grazing both walls and the ceiling.

“I’m awfully sorry,” the giant beast crooned

With a voice like a trombone that’s been poorly-tuned.

“I’m usually graceful–stand straight as an arrow,

“But I get kind of nervous in walkways this narrow.”

He gingerly stepped ‘round the glass that was broken,

And the look which he wore on face did betoken

A gentle intelligence, of grace and volition,

As he strolled to the living room, a moose on a mission.

He sprawled on the couch, his legs awkwardly splayed,

And I stifled my chuckling at the vision displayed.

Yet with regal demeanor, looked at me to say,

“The name that I go by is, simply, V.A.

“I’ve been sent to you–and I’ll tell you the reason–

“To bring you a message this post-Christmas season.”

Now, to a moose I have never played host,

Of one talking moose guest I can only now boast,

So without such experience upon which to lean,

I blurted out, “Really? What’s the V.A. mean?”

The moose shook his brown head, and the couch that he sat in

Shook too. And he said, “It’s derived from the Latin.

“Thank you for welcoming me to your home,

“A traveler who’s come all the way here from Rome.”

Then I heard an odd voice, that was muffled and wee:

“You lummox! There’s not one moose in Italy!”

The moose’s hat jiggled and slid down his face,

And I saw a small man standing there in its place!

He had on a pointed red hat and a beard.

Yet after the moose, he didn’t seem weird!

“Let me guess,” I replied in a voice not unpleasant,

“You’re the ghosts of post-Christmases future and present!”

“Oh great!” said the little guy, maybe an elf,

“A wise guy! Why I ought to clout you myself,

“And the reason I don’t is you’re too far away!”

“–As I was saying,” interrupted V.A.

“I’ve come with a message to give you this day.”

“But not from Rome!” the little man said

With the long gray beard and the hat that was red.

“Why don’t you ask him again ‘bout his name?

“If you don’t keep at him, it’ll slip from his brain!”

V.A. shook his head. The man held tight his ear,

And said some things that I cannot record here.

“If you’ll stop interrupting, you tiresome gnome,

“I’ll get done with this message and then we’ll go home.”

The gnome (so that’s it!) finally settled down,

And sat on his head like an odd gnome-ish crown.

And V.A. continued, “It’s normal for you

“At this time of year to be fee-ling blue.

“The shortage of sunlight that comes with this season

“Contributes to you feeling down. That’s one reason.

The little gnome piped up, “Then look in the mirror,

“You’ll see you’re no smurf, and on that you’ll be clearer!”

“Ahem!” said the moose. “There’s exhaustion also.

“You’ve been planning and shopping for each one you know.

“You piled on the stress as you worried about

“Making everything perfect, and now you’re worn out!

“And when you are tired, your outlook is grim.

“For the weary soul, nothing looks good to him.”

“So learn from the kitty,” said V.A’s gnome cap.

“Go seek out the sunshine. Curl up. Take a nap.”

“By the way,” I inquired, “What does V.A. stand for?”

He would not be deterred. The moose said, “There’s still more.

“You’ve been snacking on junk food since Thanksgiving night.

“All those holiday goodies... You need to eat right.

“When you fuel your body with healthier food,

“You’re bound to feel better and improve your mood.”

“Thanks a lot, ‘Dr Oz’! While I’m sure your point’s valid,”

“That’s the best you can do? ‘Eat more tofu and salad’?”

“The fourth thing,” V.A. went on, “is ‘expectations.’

“This one really adds to the season’s frustrations.

“You’ve built up an image–a Christmas illusion;

“A soft-focus, greeting card photo delusion.

“This holiday season, things must be “just so,”

“And if they don’t match, disappointment can grow.

“You may find yourself tempted to think that you failed

“If picture-perfection just wasn’t quite nailed.”

“What the moose means,” the gnome said, “--You know you got fleas?--

“What he’s saying is, ‘Alter your pri-or-i-ties.’

“You’re not Martha Stewart--and even she’s not--

“So be realistic with your Christmas plot!”

“And speaking of pri-or-i-ties,” said V.A.,

“If you’ll let me get finished before New Year’s Day!

“It’s just barely possible, you’ve bought the lie:

“This season’s about gifts and tinsel and pie,

“And now that you’ve decked the halls, given each gift,

“And eaten the fruitcake, there’s nothing that’s left!

“Now, you know that that’s not what Christmas is for!

“There’s much deeper meaning. Yes! Christmas means more!

“Remember the tale of that green Grinchy dude–”

“Don’t do that!” the gnome squeaked, “You’ll get us all sued!”

The moose gave a sigh, “Well, okay then,” he huffed,

“But Christmas is not about all of that stuff.”

He opened his great jaws and exhaled then

A peppermint cloud, which was lit from within.

And I saw in that sweet mist a vision displayed

Of a Bethlehem manger where a baby was laid,

Bundled quite snug. And his mother, named Mary.

And Joseph was there. And the shepherds did tarry

To worship--in awe of this marvelous sight–

Then the picture was gone. And the cloud. And the light.

“That holy child wasn’t just there for one day,”

Said the moose, “No. Jesus had come here to stay!

“We don’t celebrate just his coming to earth,

“We worship him always, and not just his birth.

“It’s great to have Christmas–sing “The First Noel,”

“But he’s ‘God With Us’ always--he’s Immanuel!”

The gnome interjected, “We’ve finished our task.

“Now wasn’t there something you wanted to ask?”

“Oh yes,” I replied, “You’ve been awfully grand,

“But the letters V.A.–for what do they stand?”

The moose started chuckling, ‘til his scarf came loose.

“V.A.’s for ‘Venite Adore–moose'!

“And the fellow up there who has made my head home–”

“I’ll tell him myself! My name is Dom E. Gnome.

“There’s a song about us that perhaps you have heard.”

Then he sang in a voice like a half-strangled bird,

“Venite Adoremus, Venite Adoremus, Venite Adoremus, Dominum!”

By that time, V.A. had his feet on the floor,

And got himself turned ‘round to head out the door.

Then waving one hoof with a mitten upon it,

He snatched up his red-and-white fur Christmas bonnet.

With Dom snug beneath it–a true Christmas friend–

They went out in the snow, and they turned ‘round the bend.

And I heard them exclaim as they vanished from sight,

“Adore Christ the Lord–not just on Christmas night!”

1 comment:

PaperSmyth said...

My 10 year old daughter (reads at 9th-10th grade level) and I really enjoyed this! Nicely done.

Thanks for the reminder of the real reason we celebrate! I hope we all take it to heart.