the tattered old man on christmas eve

Reads: 55  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic

A poem about an old man on a snowy winter night who needs help and sees a candle in a window.

the tattered old man on Christmas Eve

 

snow was falling hard

as the old man struggled

through the deep drifts

on the country road

 

light shone from a

a farmhouse window

the old man smiled seeing the glow

 

it was a candle

the widowed mother had placed there

nightly since last Christmas Eve

 

a year ago

a man was found

frozen along this same road

 

mother did not want

it to happen again

perhaps a poor soul might

see the candle lit

and ask for help

 

on Christmas Eve

mother sat by the fireplace

she read Christmas stories

to her two children

as the icicles sparkled on the tree

fire light danced

as snow continued to fall

 

as she read

the children listened

to the harsh wind blow

around the corner of the house

making a wailing tune

they were warmed by the fire

 

suddenly there was a pecking

at the front door

mother stopped reading

the children drew close

 

they waited

again there was a knock…

louder

but gently

 

mother told the children to

stay by the fire

she went to the door

 

she opened it cautiously

there stood an old man

tattered clothes

worn out boots

an old hat

but no gloves

 

he tipped his hat and said

evening ma’am

might an old man

just come in for a few minutes

to warm his hands on this cold night

 

the children’s eyes grew big

as a mince meat pie

while watching

 

yes please come in

mother said

sit near the warm fire

I will make you a cup of hot tea

 

he took off his old coat

and hat

and hung them on a hook by the front door

he settled into the overstuffed chair

near the fire as he

warmed his hands

 

loaded with questions

the children followed mother

to the kitchen

to fetch the tea

 

who is he mama

can we trust him

will he hurt us

we don’t know him mama

 

mother smiled

he is a stranger

who needs our help

your questions are thoughtful

I can’t answer them

we have to do our best

we need to trust him

 

the old man smiled

his trembling hands took the cup

he graciously thanked them

as he lifted the cup to his mouth

he whispered something

words they couldn’t hear

 

the children asked

if he was hungry

but did not wait for an answer

they ran to the kitchen

and brought soup and bread

 

the old man was polite

he ate it trying not to hurry

but mother and the children

could tell that he was famished

 

they sat and talked

the children wanted to know if

he had a family

and what was his name

 

he ignored the question

about his name but said

 

I have a very large family

all over the world

they are all colors

they speak different languages

 

they looked at him

is he of sound mind

they wondered

 

mother changed the subject

 

where were you going

on this snowy Christmas Eve

 

he gazed out the window

I am not sure

but over yonder somewhere

 

I had better get back

onto the road

thank you for your kindness

 

mother said

you cannot leave in this storm

you must stay here where it is warm

and you are safe

 

he agreed and thanked her

she showed him to the extra bed

under the stairway

 

everyone went to bed

but had trouble going to sleep

finally

they heard the old man snoring

they too fell asleep

 

morning light slid ‘neath the shades

the children jumped out of bed

and ran to the living room

to greet the old man

 

he was not there

gone

no trace of him

the bed looked as though

no one slept in it

 

during the night

the snow had stopped falling

but there were no tracks

left by the old man

 

on the mantle above the fireplace

were three small paper bags

in them were little treats

Christmas candies shaped like stars

and a note that said Merry Christmas

 

the family was awe struck

who was this man

where did the candy come from

where did he go

what did he mean that his family

was very large all over the world

 

 

the candle remained burning

each night in the front window

throughout the children’s childhood

 

mother died

and the farm house was sold

into the sale agreement

there was written a clause

“the candle must be lit nightly

for one who travels these roads

they may need help”

 

the new couple honored the agreement

but no one ever stopped again seeking help

 

 

 

©

Clyde and Susan McCulley


Submitted: December 23, 2020

© Copyright 2021 clyde. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Other Content by clyde

Poem / Religion and Spirituality