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A Christmas Poem
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Ace Toscano


Long ago and far north amidst the deep drifting snow,
Lived reindeer and elves and a mean man named Ho.
This Ho owned a mill there that turned trees into lumber,
And in it elves slaved with no breaks for slumber.
And the lot of the reindeer who pulled sleighs was no better --
Hauling lumber and trees through all kinds of weather.
And when they grew tired, mean Ho urged them along
With his whip and his club, while he sang them this song.
"Turn trees into lumber, and lumber to gold.
'Twill be a gift for my children when I'm frail and old."
But the Ho's had no children and because they were barren,
Ho frightened his workers with anger and swearin'.
And just when the elves thought things couldn't get worse,
A star appeared in the sky. Said Ho, "Must be a curse!"

It seemed he was right for when next day rolled around
The snow was all melted. His operations shut down.
"Twill remain thus," he said, "till that star goes away."
So, he set off on foot the very next day
Toward the south, 'cause that's where the new star was glowing
And it would have to be doused before the snow would start snowing,
And the elves could start sawing, and the reindeer their hauling,
And gold coins for Ho's children-to-be would start falling.
"Don't waste your time partying while I'm gone away --
Sharpen the saws and clean all the sleighs.
And, if you don't heed my words, I want you to know
I've left my club and my whip with my wife, Mrs. Ho."
The elves all acted frightened and promised to mind,
Knowing Mrs. Ho wouldn't hurt them -- she was gentle and kind.
So, when Ho hit the trail with his provision-filled sack,
The elves whipered at once, "Hope he never comes back."

O'er mountains, through valleys, along craggy ravines,
Across rivers and deserts and glorious scenes,
Ho plodded and plodded, just one purpose in mind --
To all the world's wonders, he remained indifferent and blind.
With one exception, of course, the new snow-melting star
Which he swore to pursue "Till I put out its fire."
Marching on, he shunned people who lived 'long the route
Because none were the sort who'd help put the star out.
"It's really quite nice," one fellow did say.
And another, "I hope it won't e'er go away!"
"Well, that star isn't nice, but how would you know,
The blasted creation hasn't melted your snow,
Or stopped your elves from sawing, your reindeer from hauling,
Or caused the gold for your children-to-be to stop falling."

Now, he had always believed he'd be a father one day,
But walking on, step by step, Ho felt his faith slip away.
Though his legs became weary, his boots turned to lead,
He strode on till the star hung right overhead.
As he pondered techniques for yanking it down,
From a boulder, near by, came a sweet, pleasing sound.
Looking up, Ho was struck by an unusual sight --
Not child, not bird, yet winged and all white.
"Come follow, dear Ho," the winged creature did sing.
"You've been brought here to see the newly born King."
"Is this King responsible for that star?" asked mean Ho.
When the creature said yes, Ho responded, "Let's go."

Now, he truly intended to lay down the law,
But his intentions all vanished when he saw what he saw --
A babe in a manger dressed in swaddling clothes
And kings at his feet, their tributes stacked and in rows.
Ho knelt down and wept without realizing why,
And was grateful the snow-melting star was on high.
"I must go home to fetch for this King all my gold."
That's when the babe touched and blessed Ho we are told.

"What a fool I have been to grumble and whine.
Hence forth, all the world's children will truly be mine."
Yes, that's how we got Santa, and as all of you know,
When he recalls his old mean self, he laughs, "Ho, ho, ho!"
And elves no longer tremble when e'er he comes near,
Instead they sing louder and smile ear to ear.
"Change meaness to love and love into toys,
Make this Christmas merry for all girls and boys."



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