Welcome to The Squeaky Pen

...where life is slow, and ripe with rural treasures

Thursday, December 22, 2011

'Twas The Night

We're decked out around here. Lights, tree(s), stockings, Santa, action. I'm spending these final hours before the big day making bourbon balls and cookies and fudge. The guests arrive Saturday night when more cooking will launch: southern pork barbecue, sausage rolls, and Polish delicacies like pierogis and kielbasa. Early Christmas morning there'll be hot coffee and French toast followed later by Champagne mimosas and lobster tails. The gifts are wrapped with sparkles, and on Christmas night: fire and cards and family and a tiny sighing dog. 

Count your blessings this year, one by one. You probably have more than you realize. Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas from The Squeaky Pen!

(PS: following is an old favorite...enjoy!)

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 our brains 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 tinny 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, 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 head, 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,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

4 comments:

Snowy Owl said...

Great... and very influential poem. According to Wikipedia it was first published anonymously in 1823. There is some controversy about authorship, but whoever wrote it painted the picture of Santa and his reindeer that we still know today...St. Nick as a jolly fat man flying through the sky in a sleigh, pipe in mouth, pulled by 8 reindeer, who were first named in this poem. What a beautifully rendered dream. Merry Christmas Squeaky!!

Kathleen Yasas said...

There also seems to be controversy about "Donner" vs "Donder." When i found this rendition I changed (quite illegally I imagine) to "Donder" as I believe that's correct. Merry Christmas to you too, Snowy Owl!

Snowy Owl said...

Dunder and Blixem in the original...Dutch for thunder and lightning.

Snowy Owl said...

Originally Dunder and Blixem......Dutch for Thunder and Lightning.

About Me

Newspaper columnist; blogger; author of Delta Dead; author of 101 Tip$ From My Depression-Era Parents; author of Australian Fly; editor: ...And I Breathed (author, Jason Garner, former CEO of Global Music at Live Nation), "A History of the Lawrence S. Donaldson Residence"; "The Port Washington Yacht Club: A Centennial Perspective"; "The Northeastern Society of Periodontists: The First Fifty Years"; editor: NESP Bulletin; editor: PWYC Mainsail; past editorial director: The International Journal of Fertility & Women's Medicine; past editor of: Long Island Power & Sail, Respiratory Review; Medical Travelers' Advisory; School Nurse News; Clear Images; Periodontal Clinical Investigations; Community Nurse Forum