Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #333, Theme: Exhaustion

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The Day after Christmas

Twas the day after Christmas,
when all through the world,
everyone lay a-sleeping,
exhausted from too much holiday keeping.

The Northern Lights are like a cloud of magic
beckoning him home to the North Pole,
the reindeer leaving behind lumps of coal.
It has been a long night of noshing,
crawling up and down fireplaces in snowy wonderlands,
and in and out of windows in rainy summerlands.

He was an old man—
this giver of gifts—
when he was given everlasting life
almost two thousand years ago.
With the help of his elves,
he crafted the cradle
for the Baby King in the manger;
his wife, Ella, had sewn the blanket
He was wrap’t in—
a shroud of Bethlehem.

When he and the Missus
had touched the Babe’s head,
death was swallowed up whole,
and they were given a task—
to be not the masters,
but the servants of the least among them.

He feels his light fading at times,
for fewer children believe now,
but the younger ones do,
for the Kingdom of Heaven
is made up of such.

All the families, he knew by name—
the ones who leave rummy eggnog in punch mugs
and brandied fruitcake on tea plates;
the ones who leave reindeer treats,
and sugar cookies shaped like stars and snowflakes;
the ones with nothing to give
but letters of wishes and thank you cards
and handmade keepsakes.

It wasn’t till centuries later that
the young Norman had captured his essence,
for the boy had caught him unawares
the year he’d left him a box of colors
with which he’d painted the world—
capturing the spirit of Americana,
of happy times and auld lang syne.
Norman had brought him to life through memory—
imagination filling in the rest,
capturing the awe and wonder
so many children possess.

As Santa nears home,
the reindeer skating over the ice,
he whispers to the midnight clear,
“Happy Christmastide to all,
and to all, a Happy New Year!”

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