My Turn: ‘A Fright Before Christmas’

  • BOS

Saturday, December 09, 2017

According to legend, Clement Clarke Moore wrote his immortal poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (also known as “The Night Before Christmas”) for his family on Christmas Eve in 1822. He didn’t write it to be published, but a family friend, Miss Harriet Butler, learned of the poem sometime later from Moore’s children. She submitted it to the editor of the Troy (New York) Sentinel where it made its first appearance in print on Dec. 23, 1823. Soon, the poem began to appear in other newspapers, almanacs and magazines, with the first appearance in a book in “The New York Book of Poetry” in 1837. It was not until 1844, however, that Moore himself acknowledged authorship in a volume of his own poetry entitled “Poems,” published at the request of his children. One hundred and eighty years later, it is the most-published, most-read, most-memorized and most-collected book in all of Christmas literature.

I suspect that Moore could ever have imagined that America would ever be on its way to becoming an oligarchy, or that his revered poem would become the basis of political parody.

For the past six years, I have “reinterpreted” Clement Moore’s classic poem, thinking that nothing in the world of politics could ever surpass that current year. Yet each year I have been wrong and THIS year tops them all. So it is once again with apologies to Clement Moore that I offer you this year’s reinterpretation of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” for modern times.


’Twas a fright before Christmas, I could do naught but grouse

About politicians who were purring, every last louse,

About stock market ratings so high and so rare

With a Mnuchin photo op at which only to stare.

Bannon was nestled all smug and without creds

While visions of tax cuts danced in GOP heads.

With forty-five in his hair piece, and I in my cap,

I had a hard time settling for all of this crap.

When out in Virginia there arose such a clatter,

I went to Rachel to see what was the matter.

To MSNBC I flew like a flash,

And turned up the volume to see the backlash.

Angry voters on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Delivered to the alt-right their first electoral blow.

When, what to my unbelieving eyes should appear,

But a cabinet stacked with candidates all drear,

With a narcissist driver, so lively and slick,

I knew in a moment we’d be sold up the crick!

More rapid than lobbyists his cronies they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Tillerson! Now, Sessions! Now, DeVos and Mnuchin!

On, Zinke! On, Perry! on Perdue and Shulkin!

To your private planes! No need to crawl!

Now fly away! Fly away! Fly away all!”

As dry heaves that before Senate hearings fly,

When they “can’t recall” and downright lie.

So back to their lawyers, the politicos flew,

With a sack full of ploys, tweets of denial too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on Fox Noise,

The prancing and pawing of Rupert’s ol’ boys

As they worked very hard to turn truth around,

From what Mueller’s investigations had found.

He was dressed all in blue, from his head to his foot,

But to speak truth to the press he was simply hard put.

A bundle of “wins” he brought back from the Far East:

Who knows how many investors’ palms he had greased?

His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his mouth kinda scary!

He’ll no longer have an (Obama)care in the world.

When the Senate’s new budget bill is finally unfurled.

An executive order, he held tight and with relief,

Authorizing coal mining again with no grief.

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he tweeted, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was tubby, he was Trump, he was full of himself

And I blanched 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 so much to dread.

Not a word did he speak to the press, what a jerk,

But filled all the tabloids with fake news and a smirk.

With golf clubs in hand, he ran from his foes

And flew to Mar-a-Lago where his money still grows.

He sprang to his plane, to his wife gave a whistle,

Who slapped his hand away and began to bristle.

But I heard him exclaim to his adoring alt-right,

These tax cuts are great, and for all, out of sight!

John Bos lives in Shelburne Falls and invites comments or other satirical poems at: john01370@gmail.com