Monday, November 7, 2016


It is the fate of some poems to be dismembered, there lines having then to find new homes as best they can. Occasionally, though, it is possible to rejoin them and send the resurrected poem off through the world again, lurching and rejoicing. As here:


The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And mama in her kerchief and I in my cap
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,--
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer
With a little old driver, so lively and quick
I thought for a moment it must be Saint Nick.
Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset was seen;
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn had blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers wax'd deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved and for ever grew still!
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!"

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