A Christmas Tale

A Christmas Tale

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

We moved on into this neighborhood

When we couldn’t afford the rent,

So my pessimistic Uncle Jim said,

‘Next step down’s a tent!’

The house is set in the meanest streets

And the locals here are rough,

They’d steal the pleats from your mother’s skirts

If they weren’t nailed down, that’s tough!

 

So we put a chain on the old front door

We put a lock on the back,

We nailed all the lower windows down

In case of a night attack,

We put ‘hedgehogs’ in the garden beds

So intruders would step on the nails,

And stay away from the window ledge

Like Peeping Tom in the tales.

 

‘It’s best we’re prepared,’ said Uncle Jim,

‘The locals are all on drugs,

They break into houses on a whim,

Thinking we’re all just mugs.’

He kept a cricket bat by the door

And a baseball bat in reserve,

‘If anyone comes in here at night,

By God, we’ll give ‘em a serve!’

 

I’d stand my watch on the upper floor

If anything moved in the street,

And write it down for my Uncle Jim

On a crumpled, beer stained sheet.

I’d note the time by my digital watch

That had cost five bucks in the Strand,

‘It’s better for you, my lad,’ said he,

You can’t tell the time with hands.’

 

We crept on out in the dark one night,

He said it was Christmas Eve,

And took a saw and a flashlight out

Looking for Christmas trees,

We stole a tree from a neighbour’s yard

He’d planted the year before,

‘He’ll never know,’ said my Uncle, low,

He’ll never get through our door.’

 

We dragged it back to our house, and left

An obvious trail of green,

I pointed it out to Uncle Jim,

‘What if that trail is seen?’

He shrugged, and put on his thinking cap,

‘I’ll say someone stole our tree,

They dragged it along our garden path,

It’s nothing to do with me!’

 

We stuck the tree in a bucket inside

Then dangled some paper chains,

And some ancient pieces of glitter, that

Were worse for the winter rains,

He found a little fat fairy, who

Looked like she was six months gone,

And stuck her up on the top of the tree

With a Goblin called ‘Bon Bon’.

 

Lying in bed that very night

Something moved on the roof,

One of the rats from the neighborhood

No doubt, on forty proof,

I went and I woke my Uncle Jim

And we clattered on down the stairs,

Just as a pair of big, black boots

Came ‘Crash’ on the hearth out there.

 

I rushed and I grabbed the cricket bat

My Uncle Jim had a shoe,

This geezer dressed in a funny hat

Popped down, and out of the flue,

His suit of red was covered in soot

And he started to dust it off,

When I whacked him one on his big black boot

And he yelled, ‘Hey! That’s enough.’

 

But Uncle Jim had pummelled his waist

And belted him with the shoe,

I whacked him once on his fat behind,

What else was a boy to do?

Then Uncle Jim had grabbed at his beard

All wispy white, like floss,

Swung him twice all around the room

Then said, ‘It didn’t come off!’

 

We let him go, then we stood and stared

While he cursed and swore at last,

Then clambered back up the chimney piece

My Uncle said, ‘What a blast!

I don’t know what he was hoping to steal,

There’s nothing in this old house.’

But looking out in the yard, I said,

‘The garden is full of cows!’

 

They were funny cows with great big horns

Like I’d seen in countless books,

Tethered fast to a loaded sledge

Piled up with frozen chooks.

‘I think we’ve made a mistake,’ he said,

My poor old Uncle Jim,

And true, I’ve not seen the man in red

Since we almost did him in!

 

David Lewis Paget

© 2014 David Lewis Paget


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Featured Review

The Master of the ghoulish and oft times the macabre, that sometimes makes us shudder ..that sometimes make us sob. He scribed a tale of Christmas for eyes of man and child, not one to scare or chill them, for his brilliant words were mild. I'll read it to my grands, from culture they will thrive. I'll bet they'll say, see Grandma, Santa IS alive!

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

It's sort of anti-"Night Before Christmas," eh? Another very, very clever one and I like it a lot.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Suspicion and mistrust can be costly! Too bad for the boy, though.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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12 Reviews
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Added on December 5, 2014
Last Updated on December 5, 2014
Tags: meanest, rough, drugs, flashlight

Author

David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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