Sunday, December 26, 2010

POEM: The Night After Christmas

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care
but their skinniness now is post-partum.
Cards stretched like laundry from strings--do we toss
them? If not, then to where should we cart 'em?

The gifts, once mysterious, papered and bowed,
turned out to be perfectly common.
The paper is crumpled and piled in a heap
and the ribbons are scattered like ramen.

Strings of lights still entwine the now drooping-branched tree
but the needles are to dry to risk them.
The last of the cookies have met their demise--
down the garbage disposal we whisk them.

The holiday puzzle which never got done
gathers dust, like the boughs on the mantel,
while once again strains of the Beach Boys replace
the chorused Messiah of Handel.

Red napkins, red tablecloth, red welcome mat
are wadded on top of the washer
while holly-sprayed china awaits its return
to the closet, each cup and each saucer.

Mama in her bathrobe and me in my sweats
confront the disaster before us.
We call for our offspring to help us clean up
and dismantle the tree; they ignore us.

I'm sure I have something more urgent to do--
Our timing is always superb.
And I hear her exclaim, as we each drive away,
"Help me get this tree out to the curb!"

(written January 6, 1993)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

ANECDOTE: The Day after Christmas

     As much fun as Christmas is, there's often a letdown afterwards even for children. When our son was four, we found a way to sustain the momentum.
     As I tucked him in Christmas night, I asked him enthusiastically, "Do you know what tomorrow is?"
     His eyes grew big. "What?"
     "The day after Christmas! That's the day you get to play with all the toys you got for Christmas!"
     It worked!

Friday, December 24, 2010

POEM: The Real Night Before Christmas

Now listen close and you will hear
the way it really goes,
from a kid with lots of practice,
a person who really knows.
People think of Christmas Eve
of children tucked in bed,
dreaming of toys and presents
that are dancing in their heads.

Now let me reassure you,
you'll be the first to know
if something isn't quite right,
or if it isn't so.
However could a child sleep
upon that Christmas Eve,
the child thinking of all the gifts
that he will soon receive.

Well, from personal experience,
I can tell you right away,
we kids sit up in bed all night
waiting for Christmas Day.
You sit up and check what time it is,
to see if you'll have to wait
until 7:00 in the morning to
find it's 8:38!!!!!!!!!!

It's only been 38 minutes
since I was put to bed.
Possibly my clock is slow,
it should be an hour instead.
I'll add and subtract
and then I'll calculate
that it will be exactly 10 hours
and 22 minutes to wait!!!!!!!!

Toss and turn,
turn and toss,
Delicious roast turkey
with cranberry sauce!!!
Fro and to, to and fro,
Christmas trees
and lights aglow.

Finally, next morning,
you awake with a start,
"It's Christmas morning," you shout
with joy in your heart.
But even though kids
go through such a terrible night,
they rush to the Christmas tree,
faces glowing bright!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                       Ben Shaver, age 13

(Published in The Cabbage Leaf, December, 1988)