An Original Christmas Poem
This is a poem that I first began writing nearly five years ago. After countless revisions, I am finally unveiling the full poem in its final version. NOTE: This is not a reflection on my real biological or heavenly fathers.
Note: As you seek a rhythm to this poem's meter, note that all lines have eleven syllables each.
How I Saved Santa
‘Twas the night 'fore Christmas, but I wasn’t glad—
Instead, I was feeling dejected and sad.
My Father had blown out the candles with care,
But I wasn’t hoping Saint Nick would be there.
I dreaded the toy-sack that soon would arrive
On the back of a man, so jolly and blithe.
I hoped against hope that Saint Nick wouldn’t show;
Perhaps rain would melt away all of the snow!
And as I lay there in my snuggly warm bed,
I thought of the thing that I had grown to dread.
I knew far above in the inky black night
Were eight flying reindeer and sleigh—what a sight!
But I also knew that this annual flight
Would end in a heart-rending, terrible fright!
I kept a great secret that few others knew,
A secret that truly would devastate you.
The fact is, my father confided in me
That there was a trap set for Santa, you see.
He said, with a look that was crafty and sly,
“Soon we will see if reindeer really can fly.
“We’ll see if that Christmas-card figure is real,
Because of the powder I put in his meal.”
“What powder?” I asked, “I just don’t understand!
And how can you call this deceptive plan grand?
“Besides, many others of stature and size
Have vainly attempted to capture this prize.
“But Santa’s so quick and his sleigh is so fast,
That no human eye has seen them as they passed.
“How do you propose to pull off this great trick,
When Santa Claus is so exceedingly quick?”
My father, his grin slowly spread ear to ear,
As he whispered, “Bend close, son, and you will hear…
“Of how I put powder in his midnight snack
So that he’ll receive a large slowness attack!
“I mixed up the powder in the cookie dough;
When he eats it, he’ll be exceedingly slow!
“And that’s how I’ll catch him on film and on tape,
And lock him away where he cannot escape.
“I’ll charge fifteen bucks every half-hour show,
And make much more money than you’ll ever know.
“Perhaps I will capture the eight reindeer, too,
And sell them to something like the Portland Zoo.
“Don’t worry; I’ll make sure they all stay well-fed,
And Santa will get a large room and a bed.
“I’ll put up a sign about thirty feet high,
Saying ‘See Santa Here,’ and now you know why
“I must prove to the world that Santa is real,
So shopping-mall Santas can no longer steal
“What’s rightfully Santa’s, like honor, respect,
And the fact that children can usually expect
“A real Santa’s watching the fights and quarrels,
Ready with coal lumps to teach them some morals.
“I’m on Santa’s side; they will know the whole truth,
And I’ll only charge them an arm and a tooth!
“I’ll release him, of course, when crowds melt away,
But I’ll bring him back after Thanksgiving Day.
“My plan is complete, and so now furthermore,
I’m barring the windows, and locking the door.
“I don’t want this secret escaping the house—
No one may be stirring, not even a mouse.
“That is, until Santa is captured and caught,
And every last TV commercial’s been bought.
“Then the secret is out! The people will shout!
You’d better not cry, and you’d better not pout.
“Please head straight to bed and go rest your small head—
I’ll call you when all has been done as I said.”
I pondered and puzzled, awake in the dark.
How could I keep Father from reaching his mark?
I had to warn Santa to stay far away,
Or he’d be a prisoner ‘til his last day!
His reindeer, in the zoo, would not romp and play—
Instead, they would forever be on display.
Even if the whole world lived in ignorance,
I had to give Santa a small fighting chance.
I couldn’t hang a sign—the windows were barred,
Or send up smoke signals—the logs were all charred.
Not email or Morse code or newspaper ads,
For myself and an hour was all I had.
All of a sudden, it occurred to me there:
The platter of cookies and milk must be bare!
If Santa got just a bite of the potion,
The results would cause an awful commotion!
Just stealing and throwing the cookies away
Could easily halt Santa’s long prison stay.
I threw off the covers and sneaked down the stairs,
Goosebumps and prickles stood up all of my hairs.
I had to be quiet and soft as a cat,
Or else I’d be caught and found out, just like that!
I knew I had almost an hour to go;
‘Twas plenty of time before Santa would show.
I padded my way through the front living room,
Keeping as silent as an Egyptian tomb.
My father’s equipment was already set,
A stool, and a platter—for Santa, I bet.
As I tip-toed across to pick up the plate,
I hungrily stared at the delicious bait.
I started to sweat—I was losing my cool!
And then it occurred—I tripped over the stool!
I heard, to my horror, the kitchen door creak!
I fled for the shadows and tried not to speak.
My Dad locked the kitchen, and my eyes went wide
The garbage can was trapped on the other side!
With food disposal vanished into thin air,
I needed to hide this food away, but where?
Father went upstairs to wait until midnight,
But I was left downstairs, without any light.
An idea began forming inside my brain,
But I told myself it was surely insane.
However, I knew it was the only way
To save dear Santa’s life before Christmas Day.
My dad’s plan was foolproof—I knew this was true—
But only if there was no fool there who knew.
I munched on a cookie and took a long sip,
I licked off the frosting; got some on my lip.
The cookies were tasty, but I could not tell.
I felt quite light-headed; my hands shook as well.
I finished the platter and swallowed each crumb.
So scared was I, though, that my body felt numb.
Replacing the platter back where it had come,
I smiled that dear Santa would never eat some.
I knew that my Father could never replace
All those cookies I had stuffed in my face.
I saved Santa from a most terrible fate,
But now the night-hour was getting quite late.
Soon Father would begin descending the stairs
To catch the old man with red suit and white hairs.
He would not catch Santa, of that I was sure,
But think of the anger that I would endure!
If I could just get back to bed very soon,
Perhaps my dear Dad would be changing his tune.
I headed full speed out the living-room door,
My feet slowly dragging across the wood floor.
I slowly lurched forward: a leisurely pace,
In spite of the fact that I wanted to race.
I crept like a snail, because of the potion,
One step at a time, one breath and one motion.
My nose felt all tickly, something was in it,
To move my hand up took nearly a minute.
The hallway seemed endless as slowly I went,
The time quickly flew as my legs slowly bent.
Scrambling on my hands and knees was no better;
I inched past a sock, some string, and a feather.
I strained all my muscles and stretched all my limbs,
But still I proceeded at their slowest whims.
Though straining to move at my fullest power,
I hurried along at one mile an hour.
My life was gradually grinding to a halt,
And this whole mess was mainly my Father’s fault.
I knew it was right—though it didn’t feel swell—
To save Old Saint Nick and his reindeer as well.
I plodded painstakingly into the hall,
And carefully felt my way along the wall.
The carpet was softening every footfall,
As I slothfully reached the stairs at a crawl.
As I mounted the stairs, it started to seem
Like I was in some sort of slow-motion dream.
The clock showed that midnight would very soon strike,
I peered through the darkness—what terrible height!
Each step that I took was much worse than the last;
It took me five minutes until each was past!
I realized with horror Dad soon would be down,
And I would be here, a veritable clown!
I thought I could hear him approaching—Oh, no!
And yet there was no faster speed I could go.
I tried to call out to him—truly, I did;
My lips were sealed shut like that garbage-can lid!
Dad dashed down the steps and tripped over myself,
He flew down the stairs and crashed into a shelf!
He picked himself up to inspect his fine trap,
And let out a roar that put us on the map.
“The cookies!” he cried. “They are not on the plate!
And Santa’s not captured—he escaped his fate!”
Dad glowered; he grimaced; he snarled; he frowned.
He peered up the chimney; he looked all around.
He stomped up the stairwell and looked in my eyes,
And said, “Son, you are in for quite a surprise.”
“You’ve hidden the cookies and Santa is gone,
I am almost ashamed to call you my son.”
“No TV, no car trips, no pizza or toys—
This is the sentence for rebellious boys.”
“I won’t let you do anything for a week—
I can’t have you let this immense failure leak.”
Slowly I lifted my head and met his gaze,
“I ate them to counter your devious ways.
“I don’t mind if I can’t do all of that stuff,
I let Santa Clause go, and that is enough.
“You could try it again next year in the snow,
And I couldn’t stop you—I’m now much too slow.”
Dad’s face gently flushed, and he stared at his toes.
I saw he was thinking of what he now knows.
“My son,” said my father, “You're right, and I’m wrong.
I think that it’s time that I sang a new song.
“Next Christmas I’ll make a welcome committee;
Forget secrecy—invite the whole city!
“We’ll eat all the cookies our stomachs can hold,
Then bundle outside and carol in the cold!
“We shan’t capture Santa, because now I see
The Spirit of Christmas dwells inside me.
“Spending my Christmas just to catch that old elf
Is really just hurting you, Mom, and myself!
“Let’s tuck you in to bed, back where you belong,
And hope that my potion is not very strong.
“I’m sure that you’ll speed up eventually,
And meanwhile, dear Santa is still flying free.”
Then, as I thought of what that potion has wrought,
I suddenly had a most curious thought.
For what if my Father was your Dad instead?
Would you eat the cookies, or stay in your bed?