Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Everyone is waiting for a visit from St. Nick

By Richard Coltharp

(EDITOR’S NOTE: In this issue of the bulletin, I am continuing a tradition continued by one of my mentors, the late Tom Reeves, who published newspapers in California, Colorado, and Alamogordo, where he hired me as an editor in 1995. Here is So the classic poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by the American poet Clement Clarke Moore, who lived from 1779 to 1863. We wish everyone a Merry Christmas!)

A visit from Saint Nicholas

‘That was the night before Christmas when everything went through the house

No creature moved, not even a mouse.

The stockings were carefully hung on the chimney,

In the hope that Santa will be there soon.

The children snuggled very comfortably in their beds,

While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.

And mom in her headscarf and I in my hat

Just had our brains soothed for a long hibernation.

When it rattled outside on the lawn

I jumped up from the bed to see what was going on.

Way to the window I flew like lightning

Open the shutters and throw up the sash.

The moon on the chest of the fresh snow

Give the objects below the shine of noon.

When what should appear in my amazed eyes

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver so lively and fast

I knew immediately it had to be St. Nick.

His racers came faster than eagles,

And he whistled and screamed and called her by name!

“Now Dasher! now dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!

Come on, comet! Up, Cupid! up, to thunder and lightning!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now get out of here! Run away Destroy everything! “

Like dry leaves that fly before the wild hurricane

When you encounter an obstacle, you will go up to heaven.

So the racers flew to the roof,

With the sleigh full of toys and Santa Claus too.

And then, in the blink of an eye, I heard on the roof

The prancing and scratching of every little hoof.

When I ducked my head and turned

Down the chimney came St. Nicholas with a crack.

He was dressed all in fur from head to toe,

And his clothes were all stained with ashes and soot.

A bundle of toys that he threw on his back

And he looked like a peddler just opening his backpack.

His eyes – how they flashed! its dimples, how funny!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His funny little mouth was pulled up like a bow,

And his goatee was white as the snow.

He held the stump of a pipe tight between his teeth,

And the smoke surrounded his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face and a small round belly,

It shook like a bowl of jelly when he laughed!

He was chubby and plump, a really happy old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, despite mine!

A wink and a turn of his head

I soon knew that I had nothing to fear.

He didn’t say a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.

And put his finger next to his nose

And with a nod he went up the chimney!

He jumped to his sled, his crew whistled,

And they all flew away like the fluff of a thistle.

But I heard him call before he drove out of sight

“Merry Christmas to everyone and a good night to everyone!”

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