The Night Before Christmas

By Dan Caton, With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore

Copyright 1998, Daniel B. Caton

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

The walls echoed with the shouts of Dad's grouse.

Toy pieces were stacked by the chimney with care,

In hopes that all the parts would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of assembled toys danced in their heads;

And instructions in hand, and tools in my lap,

I had prepared for the work with a stiff nightcap,

When out of the box there dropped parts with a clatter

And I crushed the carton to make it flatter

Away to the garbage I flew like a flash,

Tore up the box and hid it in the trash.

The moon shining through the living room window

Gave lustre to the chrome of objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But fasteners designed by sadistic engineers,

Not fitting a real screwdriver, stripping so quick,

I knew in a moment their designers are sick.

And, more vapid than English the instructions they came,

I cursed, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Danish! Now, Dutch! now, Portuguese and Swahili!

In Spanish, in French! In German--none I speak freely!

To the top of the page! These top them all!

Hopes dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

The instructions I hurl in the sky

In more languages than but just a few,

But not enough words in any one that I knew.

And then, in a yawning, I thought I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of animals on hoof.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,

Down the chimney Mr. Engineer came with a bound.

He was dressed all in polyester, in his mouth was his foot,

His reputation all tarnished, his advice would be moot.

A bundle of tools he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a student just opening his pack.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old geek,

And I laughed when I saw him, from the first peek;

But a punch in his eye and a twist to his head,

Soon gave him to know he had much to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And built all the toys; then called me a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving me a street sign, up the chimney he rose;

I sprang awake, as my nose gave a whistle,

Having only been dreaming, I thought this'll.

Mean I had less time remaining for toys to fight

Happy Christmas indeed, this will be a long night!

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