‘Twas the flight before Christmas…
A Visit from St. Mike
(with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, 1779 – 1863)
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Mike soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma 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 the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a fleet of helicopters landing quite near,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Mike.
More rapid than eagles his aircraft came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Agusta! now, Westland! now, Airbus and Bell!
On, Boeing! on, Lockheed! on, Martin and Sikorsky!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the helicopter full of Toys, and St. Mike too.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Mike came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his aircraft, to his fleet gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he flew out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”