A New Christmas Dream
On the goriest, notorious, worst night of the year,
out from dark corners strange visions appear;
aberrations of horror and things that we fear.
For it was nights like this, the history said,
when children who lied were strangled in bed.
When boys lost their voices for shouting out names
and girls were made ugly for thinking bad games.
It was Christmas Eve and the children were told,
in tales that were carried on lips of the old,
“Beware this night in December cold.
“Beware of the wizards who live in the north,
who toil and scheme to bring Christmas forth,
and beware most of all the one in red cloth.
“He is their leader, controls all their wills;
a madman, a monster, a prince of black skills,
who comes on this night to bring evil chills.
“Beating on rooftops, banging in doors,
hiding in shadows and sneaking ‘cross floors.
Flying up chimneys with winks of the eye;
whipping fierce animals through the frosted night sky.”
O the story, centuries long,
before the world burst, before things went wrong;
before the confusion and broken illusion,
it’s said this man Santa was cast to seclusion.
It said he swore for revenge that he sought,
and vowed no mercy to those who were caught
in the tumbling, crumbling disaster he wrought.
So as the years passed the legend grew,
as did the fear of the story they knew,
which accounted so much for the trembling they do.
Now on this night of Christmas dread,
the children are quick to make ready for bed.
Boarding the windows and doorways as shown,
stuffing the chimney with plaster and stone,
then off to some corner to whimper and moan.
The streets were black empty; no one dare show,
for fear they witness the terror they know;
except a young boy, about twelve or so.
Seems he was lost coming home from the green,
scared by the winds and moonlit sheen,
so alone on the streets he was left to be seen.
His heart raced with panic, his hands shook with fright
as he searched for a place to hide through the night.
Suddenly he heard a noise from the street
and saw a large man with bells on his feet,
looking about for someone to greet.
The boy thought he’d scream as the old man drew near,
but he saw in his face no reason to fear,
and that gleam on his cheek was a small frozen tear.
The husky old man in the red and white suit
looked down at the boy and gave a short hoot,
then kicked at the ground with an angry boot.
“Why do you fear me,” the ancient one asked,
“You know not my mission or the ways of my task!
Why is your face such a sorrowful mask?
Who told you stories, what have they said?
Why have the children been scared and misled?”
His eyes were afire, his beard stood on end,
then he paused for a moment, no wish to offend:
“Forgive my fool anger, ‘tis Christmas my friend.”
He turned and walked a few steps in the dark,
then waved his hand across in an arc
and the street came aglow like an amusement park.
He waved again with an exalting flare
and music from nowhere gave lilt to the air.
He clapped his hands in a special way
and down from the sky galloped reindeers and sleigh.
With his friends now assembled he was ready to start
a Christmas contrived to fill the boys heart.
From the back of his sleigh he pulled a large sack,
tugged a few strings and moved quickly back,
when out from the opening a golden flash cracked
and up gushed the colors from the magic he packed.
There were streamers that glittered, glimmered and glowed,
rockets that shot to the sky and explode;
down-falling sparkles covered the road.
A great screen of sequins suspended in space,
upon which lit pictures of splendor and grace,
or whatever one wished to view in its place.
A small green pebble, the size of a pea
popped out of the sack and bounced merrily,
then erupted and grew to an enormous green tree.
Its branches unfolded limb by limb,
laden with lights and full to the brim
with garland and beads and other fine trim.
A parade of toy heroes went scurrying through,
and small flying planes flew out of the blue;
there were cookies and candies and a sweet lemon brew.
There were all sorts of things that happened that night,
with old Santa dancing beneath the tree’s light;
a frolicsome, jocular, hilarious sight.
As the boy watched the forgotten sage
his heart lifted up from its darkened cage
and he felt for the first time the song of his age.
But as all things pass, the evening did too,
and the old man nodded with a smile true:
“This magic’s not me, this magic is you.
“All that I offer, this beauty and mirth,
with no to share, is there without worth.
I am only a man given special reason
to help the children believe in this season.”
He reached in his pack for a toy he had made,
but the boy was still doubtful, a little afraid,
which saddened the man who wanted to aid.
Slowly he turned, shook his head in dismay,
walked back in the dark and climbed into his sleigh.
He sat very still in that cold of December,
thinking of home and the fireplace amber,
when up piped the boy, “Next year, I’ll remember!”
Santa looked up, laughing with glee,
clapping his hands and slapping his knee,
then called to the boy, “Now listen to me.
“Hear what I tell you and listen good,
let all your friends know they’ve misunderstood,
this is no night to hide in the wood.
“No matter the days, despairing or bleak,
Christmas renews the proof that we seek;
alongside good laughter all sorrow falls weak.
“Christmas is fun, a delightful affair,
and,” he chuckled, “a toy here and there.”
“Mind you now,” the old man warned,
“though they may heckle and slander and scorn,
hold true to these words I tell you this morn
and together we’ll bring a Christmas reborn.”
He pulled on the reins, called out to his team,
soared up to the stars where meteors stream
and alone stood the boy with a new Christmas dream.