Christmastime is the season when I subject my friends and family members to light verse. I usually write a cutesy little poem for the holiday card that my husband and I send out. I have been known to inflict my galloping rhymes on holiday get-togethers as well.
The text of this year’s card, which is meant to be sung to a beloved Christmas carol, is below. It’ll help your reading comprehension to know that my husband’s name is Frank and my dog’s name is Lucy.
Joy to the world! The year is through!
We made it — how 'bout you?
Frank started on a new degree
Zac spent a week in Normandy
And Lucy slept all day
She slept the year away
Oh, she slept through the Twenty-Tens it's fair to say.
Reaching back into the archives, I rediscovered the following scrap of yuletide verse sent to our mailing list in 2016, the first year we lived in New York, having moved from Chicago. I just realized that, as in this year’s greeting, I rhyme “you” and “through” here. Do you think anyone will notice the repetition?
Feliz Navidad from us to you —
In Arkansas (pig sooie! woo!),
Chicago in your Cubbie blue,
Or Brooklyn, Mars, or Timbuktu.
No matter where you are — or who —
Glad tidings! Joy! This year is through!
Two Thousand Sixteen made us wince —
The win by Trump, the death of Prince —
But nonetheless we saw some glints
Of light through curtains made of chintz:
Fresh starts, new nephews, trips abroad —
And hey, we're still above the sod
So season's greetings! (Help us, God!)
In Spanglish: Merry Navidad!
Do I need to annotate this? The shout-out to Arkansas is there ‘cause that’s my home state, and the Spanglish ending is an allusion to my marriage, which involves a Puerto Rican person (Frank) and pasty ol’ me.
That fall, the Cubs had won the World Series and Donald Trump had won the U.S. presidential election—two victories that were once deemed impossible but now seem in keeping with the carnival of the bizarre we’ve all been trapped in ever since. I’m half-convinced that my leaving Chicago was the event that threw the world out of whack.
And to think we once considered the George W. Bush years the nadir of civilization. Something I wrote toward the end of that era is below. Frank and I were hosting a December dinner at our apartment. He told me to write a toast. This is what I came up with.
Peace on earth, goodwill to men:
Now there's a load of hooey.
Why not claim 12 follows 10?
Or Truman lost to Dewey?
Thus run my thoughts in times of gloom
And bitter melancholia
When rancor reigns and bombs go boom
From Kabul to Somalia
And maybe you'll think me a churl
For saying this out loud,
But why so holly-jolly, Burl?
The sky is one gray cloud.
But then I think, Wait, hold the phone —
Perhaps there's something in it:
The eastern star aloft, alone,
Glad tidings for a minute.
Goodwill, though rare as virgin birth,
Is awfully nice to see
And so let there be peace on earth
And let it start with me.
Happy holidays, everybody.