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Twas the Night Before Christmas


THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
(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;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that ST. NICHOLAS soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONDER and BLITZEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!"


(A Soldier's Christmas poem that I felt should be here-Lori)


THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
in a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.

I had come down the chimney with presents to give,
and to see just who in this home did live.

I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.

No stocking by mantle, just boots filled with sand,
on the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.

With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
a sober thought came through my mind.

For this house was different, it was dark and dreary,
I found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly.

The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone,
curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home.

The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder,
not how I pictured a United States soldier.

Was this the hero of whom I'd just read?
Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?

I realized the families that I saw this night,
owed their lives to these soldiers who were willing to fight.

Soon round the world, the children would play,
and grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.

They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home.

The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.

The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
"Santa don't cry, this life is my choice;

I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more,
my life is my God, my Country, my Corps."

The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep,
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.

I kept watch for hours, so silent and still
and we both shivered from the cold night's chill.

I didn't want to leave on that cold, dark, night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.

Then the soldier rolled over, with a voice soft and pure,
whispered, "carry on Santa, it's Christmas Day, all is secure."

One look at my watch, and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night.


By:  Major Bruce Lovely, adopted from a similar poem, anonymous.


A Christmas Incident

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the charts
The lines that were empty would sure break your heart.
The pedigree chart was laid out with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas would know who or where.
As searcher I nestled all snug in my bed
While visions of ancestors danced through my head.

Others sound asleep both upstairs and down
All in a nightcap and ankle length gown.
when out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I jumped from my bed to see what was the matter.
When much to my wonderment there did appear
Good old St Nicholas with a grin to each ear.

His bulk was tremendous, his eyes full of glee
He laughed as he picked up the sad pedigree.
He shouted and roared and ripped it to bits
While I swallowed my heart and went into fits.
"Dash it all, dash it all," I head him then say,
"This clutter and mess is just in my way."

He said not a word as he started his job
He sat down at once and his pencil did jog.
A new pedigree he filled out in two winks
Giving names, dates, and places and all missing links.
Clear back to Adam, and down to the last...
For ageless was he, having served in the past.

I thought, "Oh, how wonderful it would all be
If he did for others what he did for me!!:
As he finished and blotted the ink not quite dry
A sadness came over me and then I did cry!
He gave me the details and seemed to have such fun
But now all my ancestor chasing was done!!!

He bounced out the window and I heard him say,
"For others I'll do the same any old day,
Just tell them my number and be good and kind,"
But then, a sure thought came into my mind...
Nobody wants ancestors that fast and so good
I'll let everyone else do the job just as they should.

(by Dora Mills - Ash Tree Echo Jan 1983)

T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the shop, The computers were whirring; they never do stop. The power was on and the temperature right, In hopes that the input would feed back that night. The system was ready, the program was coded, And memory drums had been carefully loaded; While adding a Christmasy glow to the scene, The lights on the console, flashed red, white and green. When out in the hall there arose such a clatter, The programmer ran to see what was the matter. Away to the hallway he flew like a flash, Forgetting his key in his curious dash. He stood in the hallway and looked all about, When the door slammed behind him, and he was locked out. Then, in the computer room what should appear, But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer; And a little old man, who with scarcely a pause, Chuckled: "My name is Santa...the last name is Claus." The computer was startled, confused by the name, Then it buzzed as it heard the old fellow exclaim: "This is Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, And Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen." With all these odd names, it was puzzled anew; It hummed and it clanked, and a main circuit blew. It searched in its memory core, trying to "think"; Then the multi-line printer went out on the blink. Unable to do its electronic job, It said in a voice that was almost a sob: "Your eyes - how they twinkle - your dimples so merry, Your cheeks so like roses, your nose like a cherry, Your smile - all these things, I've been programmed to know, And at data-recall, I am more than so-so; But your name and your address (computers can't lie), Are things that I just cannot identify. You've a jolly old face and a little round belly, That shakes when you laugh like a bowlful of jelly; My scanners can see you, but still I insist, Since you're not in my program, you cannot exist!" Old Santa just chuckled a merry "ho, ho", And sat down to type out a quick word or so. The keyboard clack-clattered, its sound sharp and clean, As Santa fed this "data" to the machine: "Kids everywhere know me; I come every year; The presents I bring add to everyone's cheer; But you won't get anything - that's plain to see; Too bad your programmers forgot about me." Then he faced the machine and said with a shrug, "Merry Christmas to All," as he pulled out its plug! (author unknown)


A VISIT FROM ST. NICK


'Twas late Christmas eve, and throughout the White House
All slumbered but Socks (who was chewing a mouse)
When all of a sudden a thunderous roar
Rattled the East Wing from rafter to floor.

Unsure if the noise was just gas or artillery,
Bill Clinton took action: he deputized Hillary.
In her robe and her slippers, she trudged to the source
Of the noise and saw nothing, but then heard a coarse
Texas twang from the fireplace clamor
"Down here! Are y'all just as blind as those tinhorn reindeer?"

There, on the hearth, 'midst the timber and tinder,
Sat H. Ross Perot, all covered with cinder.
"Your flue," he complained, "is disgusting with soot.
You gave far too many staff members the boot.
Cutting budgets is wonderful; better is cheaper.
But you need either Zoe's or Kimba's housekeeper.
From ashes that thick, someone's breathing might fail.
Thank goodness, like Bill, that I didn't inhale."

"Why, Ross," replied Hillary, "pray tell what is it
To which Bill and I owe this Christmas Eve visit?
You're certainly welcome to use the front door.
Did you come down the chimney to hide from Al Gore?"

Shaking the layer of ash from his head,
Ross brushed his flattop, glowered and said:
"No, M'am. I'm a shareholder in Santa Claus, Inc.,
Whose dividends recently started to sink.
When I finally cornered old Santa himself,
He offered to hire me on as an elf!

So I planned my attack, set my financing snares,
Then bought all the company's outstanding shares.
Christmas trees won't be all that get trimmed from now on;
The era of deficit budgets is gone.
The business is gonna be run right because
All day, every day, now I am Santa Claus."

From his inside coat pocket Ross whipped out a chart
And a pointer he brandished with well-practiced art.
"Now, you look at this. You see this here graph?
The way Santa's workshop was run is a laugh.

Those North Pole utility bills are a joke,
And the union-scale wages will soon have us broke.
We need much, much cheaper electrical power,
And elves who don't make fifteen dollars an hour."

For dramatic effectiveness, Ross took a pause,
Then resumed his debut as the new Santa Claus.

"Each new day brings another environment rule.
Recycling toys is a pain in the Yule!
The slogan 'keep the North Pole white'
Is driving expenditures clear out of sight.
Luckily, NAFTA provides a solution,
A haven in which I can discharge pollution
Into the air or the land of my neighbor,
Where the real estates cheap, and so is the labor.
Where there's no powerful union committee:
I'm moving the workshop to Mexico City."

Then, in a twinkle, up the chimney he went,
Back through the soot out the cold rooftop vent.
But not before saying, with a wink and a nod,
"Buenas noches, Miss Hillary, and Feliz Navidad!"

(c) 1993 Christopher M. Mislow


'Twas the night before Christmas on the Enterprise-D,
On a routine short hop to Starbase 03,
With Data on duty in the command chair,
At Warp 6, the Enterprise soon would be there.

Just for something to do while the other crew slept,
He scanned where historical records were kept --
And with a blink of his eye and a cock of his head,
"Intriguing! Tomorrow is Christmas!" he said.

But no one was stirring, and he sought to find why,
And so he buzzed Geordi, who awoke with a sigh:
"Christmas? It's only an old holiday --
Now just let me get back to sleep, okay?"

"But is to wish Merry Christmas not human to do?"
And so Data wished it -- to the whole ship and crew.
Everyone on the Enterprise awoke from this clatter --
Picard rushed to the bridge to see what was the matter.

"What is the meaning of this noise, Mister Data?"
"Sir, is it not Christmas--?" "We'll discuss it much later!"

Just then Worf said, "Captain -- a Klingon Prey Bird!
Its hull has been damaged -- it's uncloaking, sir."
"On screen," said Picard, as the Klingon ship hailed:
"Federation vessel, our Life Support systems have failed!

A strange ship attacked us, inflicting the worst,
(though naturally, of course, we'd fired on it first)."

The Klingons beamed over, and the senior staff met,
To try and determine the source of the threat.
Said Picard, "Mister Data, an assignment for you:
Give all of these Klingons something to do!
They think it's the Romulans we should look for,
Get them all off the bridge, before there's a war!"

So Data departed, while the rest of the crew
Wondered: Romulans? Ferengi? If not them, then who?

Said Worf, "Sir -- disturbance on Holodeck Three!"
The entire bridge crew ran down there to see.
Roared Picard, "Mister Data, what the devil is this!!"
"Sir, I have taught the Klingons how to celebrate Christmas."

And so there they were -- on holodecks 3, 4 and 5
With synthohol, singing and Rokeg Blood Pie!
Soon the Big E was rocking with holiday cheer
Friend,foe, and family came from both far and near.

The Romulans showed up with some Romulan Ale,
The Ferengi brought goodies for free -- not for sale!
But a strange ship was coming, the captain was told,
With one crew member only, and a huge cargo hold.

Said the Klingons, "It's the strange ship that fought us -- attack!"
Said Picard, "On Christmas? -- Mister Worf, just hold back."
And then as the ship came into view,
Onscreen came its captain -- none other than Q!

He wore a white beard and a suit of deep red...
"Joyeux Noel, mon captain," was what Santa Q said.
"Tell those Klingons next time to not go so berserk.
You need good defense systems in this line of work.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be warping away...
Did you think anyone else could do this job in one day?"

"I'm sensing emotion," said Counselor Troi,
"Peace in the galaxy, Good Will and Joy."
And they stood on the bridge and watched Q take flight,
shouting,
"MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!"

'Twas the night before Christmas And all through the crates Not a Dalmatian was stirring Not even for bait. The puppies were nestled All snug in their beds While visions of biscuits Danced in their heads The stockings were hung By the fireplace of stone In hopes they'd be filled With rawhide and bones Ma in her nightshirt And I in my robe Had just settled down By the ol' woodstove When out on the lawn There arose such a commotion I sprang from my chair To see why the dogs weren't in motion Away to the window I ran like a deer Tore open the shade To see who was here The moon on the top Of the new fallen snow Gave the luster of doghair To the ground below. And what do I see To my startled exclamation But a miniature sleigh And eight spotted dalmatians. With a little 'ole handler So poised and so sure I knew in a moment 'Twould not be a bore More rapid than beagles His charges they came And he whistled and shouted And called them by name Now Austin, now Blackjack Now Chips and Josh P On Morris and Fancy On Lace and Indy To the top of the doghouse To the top of the wall Now dash away, dash away Dash away all As the dry leaves that before The wild hurricane fly Meet with an obstacle Mount to the sky So up to the housetop The coursers they flew With a sleigh full of choo-hooves And St, Nicholas too. And then in an instant I heard on the roof The scratching and digging Of each spotted foot. As I drew in my head And was turning around Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur But had not a care For his clothes were all covered With black and white hair. A bundle of toys He had flung on his back And he looked like a groomer Just opening his pack. His eyes how they twinkled His dimples how merry His cheeks were like roses His nose like a cherry, His small little mouth Smile to greet all his pals And the beard on his chin Was as white as the dals. He had a broad little face And a round little tummy That wriggled when he laughed Like the tail of a puppy. He was chubby and plump A right jolly old boy The dogs barked when they saw him Their eyes on the toys. A wink of his eye And a twist of his head Soon told the dogs They had nothing to dread. He spoke not a word But went straight to his work. And filled all the stockings Then turned with a jerk. And with a pat to each Spotted dog's nose Giving a nod Up the chimney he rose. He sprang to his sleigh To his team gave a whistle And away they all flew Like the down of a thistle. And I heard him exclaim As he drove out of sight "Happy showing to all And to all a good night." Karen Darling 1993

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