Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Nice Christmas Poem...

Disclaimer: Every year at Christmas time, I make the case that parents should not lie to their children about anything--even Santa Claus. I feel strongly that telling kids Santa is real is teaching children that lying to those you love is okay. This year, as in many years past, many little hearts will be broken as they learn Santa isn't real. Yet every year, I'm never taken seriously by any parents I mention this to. True, not lying about Santa robs children of the magical element to the holidays, and it's a very important lesson for children to eventually learn that parents aren't infallable, but I still think that the Santa Claus ritual trains children from a very early age to be credulous, and we've got enough of that going around as it is. The following poem is designed to bring home this point. Enjoy!

An Account of No Visit by St. Nicholas
A poem by Eric Hildeman
(Borrowed from the work of Clement Clark Moore)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
But that was to change before the night ended,
For none was asleep, every eyelid distended;
Our stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas might just soon be there;
But we three kids weren't quite so nestled in our beds,
For visions of espionage danced in our heads;
Tonight we would learn, for once and for all,
Whether Santa was real, or if there was none at all;
And see for ourselves if reindeer could fly,
In defiance of gravity across the night sky.
Brother and sister in their sleepers, and I in my cap,
Had convinced mom and pop we were taking our nap;
When out in the den there arose such a clatter,
We sprang up from our beds to see what was the matter.
Away to the stairwell we flew in a flash,
Sliding down the floorboards, and avoiding a crash.
Peering over the railing at the lit tree aglow,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to the objects below;
And what to our wondering sight should appear,
But a very distinct absence of eight tiny reindeer.
Our parents were wrapping presents so lively and quick,
That we knew in a moment there was no St. Nick.
More rapid than bullets the revelations they came:
All costumes and lies, and a legendary name.
And if all these lessons had come now to naught,
What other things were false that we'd been taught?
Those things which we'd thought so sure and so brazen,
Could they be lies too? Could God? Could Satan?
We spoke not a word, but stared straight at this work,
When mom and pop suddenly turned ‘round with a jerk;
My baby little sister, that jolly little elf,
Had laughed when she saw this, in spite of herself.
The glint in pop’s eye and the tilt of his head,
Soon let us kids know we had plenty to dread!
Pop clenched up his fist out in front of his nose,
And giving a nod, to the stairwell he rose.
He sprang up the stairs, to my team I gave a whistle,
And away we all flew like the down of a thistle.
Back down the hallway the courses we flew,
At our heels, the bogus St. Nicholas, too.
More rapid than eagles his courses they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called us by name;
"You doggone kids! You'd just better run!
You've spoiled our secret! You've ruined our fun!”
And hearing these words while running down the hall,
We dashed away, dashed away, dashed away all!
When back in the bedroom I spun back around,
Bro' and Sis' landed back into bed with a bound.
Our pursuer had stopped, leaving us dumbfounded,
’Till we all slowly realized we were certainly grounded.
Though no permanent scars did we receive that Christmas night,
We emerged more confused about what was wrong and what was right.
In the years that followed, in teenage vice,
We listened more to peers than to parents' advice.
And one more lesson that night we were taught:
It’s all right to lie, if you just don't get caught;
Or if certain situations will justify,
The certain variety or use of the lie.
'Tis a difficult problem, and a peculiar plight,

But still....

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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