Original Poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
Except there was someone wrapping last-minute gifts
Trying to be silent but trying to be swift.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
They’d been on our feet and smelled really gross
First thing he’d notice is the smell of our toes.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
Am I sure about that? How do I know?
Since this is my story, it’s because I say so.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
It’s called “hibernation.” That’s what we do there
Bet you didn’t know this poem’s about bears
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
I opened my laptop, went to Facebook
Posted “Someone outside, I’m gonna take a look.”
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
I had grabbed my shotgun from out of the den
If in for fight, that person wouldn’t win
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
To say the least, it was rather bright,
Even though it was the middle of the night.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
I recognized them at once, knew them by sight
But photos online hadn’t gotten them quite right
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
But what if a thief or a sleigh jacker
What if this person was a late night attacker?
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
The middle of the night, didn’t anyone tell him
There’s no need for all of that yellin’.
“Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONDER and BLITZEN!
Shouting out names for the neighbors to hear
Waking them up seemed the least of his fears
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
But was he coming or going, I wasn’t quite sure.
Why say “away” when he really meant towards?
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
Those are some visuals for you to imagine
Now for no reason, just picture a dragon.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
All of that movement made the vehicle shake
If it fell from the sleigh, it would surely break.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
That better be Santa and not some thief
Thinking this thought gave me no relief.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
Being quite cautious, I still had my gun
I know how to use it to protect everyone.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
I still wasn’t sure. Was this Santa Claus?
No need to fire yet, so I stood with a pause.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
Was this stuff stolen or was it legit?
I wondered aloud, “Where did he get it?”
His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
Was he feeling well? Was he contagious?
To become sick by Santa would be outrageous?
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
He smiled at me, gun still in my hand,
But he wasn’t afraid, I didn’t understand.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
Yes, Santa smokes. He’s still a role model.
He also had whiskey, drank straight from the bottle.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
Bet you didn’t know that jelly can laugh
A misplaced modifier can be quite a gaffe
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
I had given a chuckle, still somewhat nervous,
Had this fat man in a suit come here just to hurt us?
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
So I lowered my gun from its steady aim
Thankful it wasn’t his life I had claimed.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
It was probably the foot smell that made him react
Unless it was his smoke that caused him to hack.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
I’ll never know if it was our feet or his smoke
Which caused dear Santa to cough and to choke.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
He was really quite silent inside that room
But noisy as traffic when out under the moon.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!
He had shouted to all, again without warning.
Then someone cursed and replied, “It’s still early morning!”