An oldie but a goodie: “A visit from St. Nicholas”
This poem takes me back to my childhood. When I was in third grade and my brother was in second grade, he came home from school and told my parents that he had to memorize this poem for school. My first thoughts were “Wow, it’s long!”. My parents helped him to memorize the poem, although I’m not sure if my brother actually memorized the whole thing, or just the first part of it. It is awfully long for a second grade student to memorize.
This poem also takes me back to the house we lived in at that time. It was small and we did not have central heating, instead our home was heated by woodstove. Yes really, a Woodstove! Thank God for electric blankets! 🙂 There was a simplicity we had that I recall with fondness, although my parents may remember things differently from an adult’s perspective.
Looking back, I also remember that we were surrounded by lots of extended family. Sadly, now many of those family members have passed on and others now live far away. But when I hear this poem it takes me back to my childhood and reminds me of so much more than just my brother memorizing a poem; it takes me back to a time and place that I will always remember with gratitude and smile. 🙂
I wonder, does this poem recall any childhood memories for anyone else? Or, does the poem speak to you now as you create new memories with your own children? Either way, I hope that reading this poem will at least make you smile. 🙂
A Visit from St. Nicholas
By Clement Clarke Moore
‘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. Nicholas 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 my 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 a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas 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 on 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 bowl full 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 sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”