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.
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.”
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.
CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE (caller): All the stockings were hung
ROSIE (counselor): By the mice?
MOORE: By the chimney
ROSIE: How does a chimney hang stockings?
MOORE: with care.
ROSIE: I would hope so.
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CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE (caller): Not a creature was stirring
ROSIE (counselor): You let your pets cook?
MOORE: Not even a mouse.
ROSIE: That’s good. They can be disease vectors. Worse, they could fall in.
ROSIE (counselor): Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE: ‘Twas the night before Christmas
ROSIE: Right now!
MOORE: All through the house
ROSIE: All through the Western Hemisphere!
From “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” by Clement Clarke Moore
from “The Trees” by Adrienne Rich
Guest illustration by Steve Willhite