The Night Before Christmas

the night before christmas

In our Book Club (named Thanatopsis as you will recall), I am responsible for assembling the book lists each six months and distributing them to the members. Generally, those emails are vanilla. But last year I decided to add a Christmas theme.

 T’was the night before Christmas and all through the land
Thanatopsi were resting, a book close to hand.
My wife with her kindle and I with my nook
Each was absorbed in an electronic book.
As she with her romance and I with sci fi
Closed our devices to catch some shut eye
A noise from the living room lanced us with fear,
The house was quite empty; it was only us here.
Retrieving in silence a trusty ball bat,
We crept down the hall and almost fell flat.
There in our living room close by the tree
A most curious being knelt on one knee.
Its limbs were too long, its torso not right
That thing isn’t human, came the thought with a fright.
Thin as a rail, it was dressed all in green.
Then it turned and presented an incredible mien.
On its face bloomed emotions one after the other
Fear followed joy which anger did smother.
Excitement, rage, sorrow, love and remorse
Flowed on its face in an unending course.
Spotting us, it stood and turned fully around.
Though trembling in fear, I refused to give ground.
While its terrible visage and height gave me pause,
I bravely commanded “Begone! You’re no Claus.”
“I hope not!” it proclaimed. “He’s a consummate fraud!”
“Those toys and trinkets he fashions and scatters abroad
Are all useless garbage that will rust and decay
While my gifts are permanent, a much better way
To enlightenment, pleasure and knowledge of self.
Gaze upon my magnificence for I’m The Book Elf.”
It exulted. Then its face stopped, became stern.
“What will you do the next six months to learn?”
Trembling, I handed it (copy attached)
Our next six month book list. “Oh, this is unmatched!”
It said, its face shifting quickly to joy.
“Thanatopsis, you say? Well, you’ve been a good boy.”
It waved at the tree and there were books of all kinds
 First editions, old manuscripts-incredible finds!
Mystery, Romance, True Crime, Science Fiction,
Non Fiction, Biography, one was even on diction.
Gratitude filling us, we knew not what to say.
We turned to give thanks, but it had vanished away.
Yet echoing gently, I heard its soft voice:
“Remember to read when you’re given the choice!”

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