Clement Clarke Moore and/or Major Henry Livingston, Jr, call the Poetry Crisis Line (part 6)

CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE: We had just settled down
MAJ. HENRY LIVINGSTON, JR: For our long winter’s nap.
ROSIE (counselor): You mean like a bear?

[For earlier installments of this series, click here.]


Clement Clarke Moore calls the Poetry Crisis Line (or does he?) – part 5

MOORE: With Ma in her nightgown, and me in my cap

It has come to our attention that “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” may have originally been written not by Clement Clarke Moore, but by Revolutionary War Major Henry Livingston, Jr.

This poses a conundrum for the cartoonist, as it calls into question what sort of cap the poet was wearing.

A Visit from the Recycling Truck

Concept and first couplet by Susan Young; completed by David Sklar

‘Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house
Empty boxes and paper were strewn all about.
I stood in the living room, steeling my nerve
To take the recycling out to the curb.

The papers were scattered all over the floor,
In drifts in the corners, and one at the door.
I gazed at the carnage, admitted defeat,
Then swept like a fiend all the way to the street.

To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Our pile of used wrappings had gotten so tall
That it shook when I swept, like a bowl full of jelly
(the same at our neighbors’, and their pile was smelly).

All the way up and down on both sides of the road
The mounds of bright papers looked fit to explode,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear?
The recycling truck! As it slowly rolled near,

There appeared to be something wrong with the suspension.
It shook as it went, like that jelly I’d mentioned.
In that gray, hazy morningtime, such was my luck
That the driver passed by without stopping the truck,

And I heard him explain as he trundled away,
The truck is all full, so I’m done for the day.”

Clement Clarke Moore calls the Poetry Crisis Line–page 4


ROSIE (counselor): I mean, nylon is very flammable. If there’s a fire–especially if the fireplace isn’t used often, like if you’ve just lit a fire for Christmas or Advent or–
CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE (caller): In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.
ROSIE: Now that’s just disturbing.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Clement Clarke Moore calls the Poetry Crisis Line on the Night Before Christmas

ROSIE (counselor): Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE: ‘Twas the night before Christmas
ROSIE: ‘Tis!
MOORE: When—
ROSIE: Right now!
MOORE: All through the house
ROSIE: All through the Western Hemisphere!

From “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” by Clement Clarke Moore

Clement Clarke Moore calls the Poetry Crisis Line

Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: ‘Twas the night before Christmas,

COUNSELOR: Yes, the holidays can be a stressful time.

CALLER: when

COUNSELOR: You know, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s. They can be a lot of fun, but the preparations can be difficult for some people.

CALLER: all through the house

COUNSELOR: For everyone? You might consider a low-key celebration instead of running your family ragged beforehand.

CALLER: Not a creature was stirring,

COUNSELOR: That’s not unusual. If everyone’s as frazzled as you say, then it’s healthy to take a rest.

CALLER: not even a mouse;

COUNSELOR: Now, that’s cause for concern. If the animals are also lethargic, you might want to look for an external cause.

CALLER: The stockings were hung

COUNSELOR: I don’t think that’s it. No matter how bad your socks smell, they aren’t likely to–

CALLER: by the chimney

COUNSELOR: That could be a problem. Have you lit a fire in the fireplace?

CALLER: with care,

COUNSELOR: I’m glad you’re practicing fire safety, sir, but have you had your chimney cleaned recently? A blocked flue could lead to carbon monoxide in your house. Especially if you haven’t used the fireplace in a long time, like if you lit the fire as a special holiday treat, or–

CALLER: In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

COUNSELOR: Now that’s just twisted

If All Poems Were Limericks: A Visit from St. Nicholas, by Clement Clarke Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas. The hoof

Of a reindeer alit on the roof,

Which needed repair,

So now there’s a deer

In the kitchen, dear. Sorry. My goof.




[Want more Moore? The Poetry Crisis Line call for this poem will up on Christmas Eve.]