Over the years, I’ve received a lot of Christmas letters with enclosed poems, most often terrible parodies of “A Visit From St. Nicholas.” The meter is faulty, the rhymes wretched. One year, quite a while back, I was inspired to retaliate in kind by Edgar Allan Poe’s immortal “The Raven.” ©1984, 2012 J. Guenther.
A Visit From the Christmas Maven
Once upon a midnight jolly,
weary from the Yuletide folly,
–decking halls with plastic holly,
rushing ‘round from store to store,
attending parties overlapping,
present buying and present wrapping–
I sat down and started napping
‘midst the holiday decor.
As I nodded, slowly slumping,
suddenly there came a bumping,
as of someone gently thumping,
thumping at my condo door.
I stood at the peephole, peeking.
“‘Tis some drunk a party seeking,
with his breath of eggnog reeking,
this it is and nothing more.”
On my doorstep stood a geezer:
hollow cheeks and purple beezer,
looked like he’d been in the freezer–
a hippie, from the clothes he wore:
Faded lavender serape,
walking stick and sandals floppy,
purple hat, and whiskers, sloppy–
all Salvation Army store.
Laughing, I flung wide the portal,
prepared to have a little chortle
at this poor, unfortunate mortal
standing at my condo door.
“You’re a little early, Santa!
Come, I’ll get out the decanter…”
‘Fore I’d time for further banter,
“Santa” passed out on the floor
Moistened washcloth on his forehead
brought him to, his cheeks much more red.
He then, sitting on the floor, said:
“Nick’s my name. In days of yore,
Bishop Nick. Though now quite seedy,
I was rich, but never greedy,
gave my money to the needy,
presents to the very poor.
“Famous, once, from Bay of Fundy
to Cape Horn and back to Dundee…
oh, sic transit gloria mundi!
Saint Nicholas you now ignore.
Santa’s known to every Hotten-
tot and Chinese, Indian, Scot, an’
It’s “Santa Claus” you all adore!
“To the rich go Santa’s presents,
spending little on the peasants,
thus you’ve lost the Christmas essence,
chasing after more and more.
That fat guy in the red suit, he
pushes toys and other booty,
furs and gems and fashions snooty!
Gucci! Saks! Christian Dior!
“Beamers, boats and electronic
boxes blaring out moronic
network tripe in stereophonic!
Knick-knacks, junk, and stuff galore.
Once a year I have a mission,
‘fore the world goes to perdition,
to restore the old tradition,
make it like it was before!
“More religion and less business!
Put some Christ back into Christmas,
on each continent and isthmus,
that’s my self-appointed chore.
Now I think that I had best be
off. Thanks for the chance to rest me.”
Nicholas got up and blessed me,
strode right through my condo door.
I awoke to sunlight beaming
on the decorations gleaming.
Surely, I’d been only dreaming,
dreaming of St. Nick, I swore.
Glad that we’d not been hobnobbing,
to relieve my headache throbbing,
I began my forehead swabbing
with the washcloth from the floor.