Monday, December 08, 2008

PTSW : You Better Watch Out...

[11/20/2010 Note: minor changes near end of post]
As Christmas approaches you may have a use for a little Christmas humor. I usually find an opportunity to read this poem to my students. Often there is a skeptic in fourth grade who doubts the reality of our lively and quick sleigh driver. Let this poem serve as a warning. I lifted it verbatim from my school website.
The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus

In Baltimore there lived a boy.
He wasn't anybody's joy.
Although his name was Jabez Dawes,
His character was full of flaws.

In school he never led his classes,
He hid old ladies' reading glasses,
His mouth was open when he chewed,
And elbows to the table glued.
He stole the milk of hungry kittens,
And walked through doors marked NO ADMITTANCE.
He said he acted thus because
There wasn't any Santa Claus.

Another trick that tickled Jabez
Was crying 'Boo' at little babies.
He brushed his teeth, they said in town,
Sideways instead of up and down.
Yet people pardoned every sin,
And viewed his antics with a grin,
Till they were told by Jabez Dawes,
'There isn't any Santa Claus!'

Deploring how he did behave,
His parents swiftly sought their grave.
They hurried through the portals pearly,
And Jabez left the funeral early.

Like whooping cough, from child to child,
He sped to spread the rumor wild:
'Sure as my name is Jabez Dawes
There isn't any Santa Claus!'
Slunk like a weasel or a marten
Through nursery and kindergarten,
Whispering low to every tot,
'There isn't any, no there's not!'

The children wept all Christmas eve
And Jabez chortled up his sleeve.
No infant dared hang up his stocking
For fear of Jabez' ribald mocking.

He sprawled on his untidy bed,
Fresh malice dancing in his head,
When presently with scalp-a-tingling,
Jabez heard a distant jingling;
He heard the crunch of sleigh and hoof
Crisply alighting on the roof.
What good to rise and bar the door?
A shower of soot was on the floor.

What was beheld by Jabez Dawes?
The fireplace full of Santa Claus!
Then Jabez fell upon his knees
With cries of 'Don't,' and 'Pretty Please.'
He howled, 'I don't know where you read it,
But anyhow, I never said it!'
'Jabez' replied the angry saint,
'It isn't I, it's you that ain't.
Although there is a Santa Claus,
There isn't any Jabez Dawes!'

Said Jabez then with impudent vim,
'Oh, yes there is, and I am him!
Your magic don't scare me, it doesn't'
And suddenly he found he wasn't!
From grimy feet to grimy locks,
Jabez became a Jack-in-the-box,
An ugly toy with springs unsprung,
Forever sticking out his tongue.

The neighbors heard his mournful squeal;
They searched for him, but not with zeal.
No trace was found of Jabez Dawes,
Which led to thunderous applause,
And people drank a loving cup
And went and hung their stockings up.

All you who sneer at Santa Claus,
Beware the fate of Jabez Dawes,
The saucy boy who mocked the saint.
Donner and Blitzen licked off his paint.
-- Ogden Nash


NOTES

Ogden Nash -- This poet is famous for writing silly poems with made-up words.
[11/20/2010 Note: ...and made-up spellings and pronunciations]
Jabez -- This is a name that Nash made up. It rhymes with “babies”.
[11/20/2010 Note: Alert reader Geoff points out that Jabez is a Biblical name. As a double preacher's kid I am well aware of Jabez of the Bible and Tom Wilkinson's best seller "The Prayer of Jabez". I should have written that Nash made up a pronunciation for the old name to rhyme with "babies" or perhaps that he wanted us to make "baybezz" rhyme with it! Thanks Geoff.]
portals -- gates

marten -- This is a slightly larger animal very similar to a weasel.

chortled -- Do you remember who invented “chortled”?

ribald -- This word means “naughty”.

Donner and Blitzen -- Some folks know that Donner was first called “Donder”. And at one time Blitzen was called “Blixem”! Here is a website that tells that story. And here is another that talks about the argument over the names of Santa’s reindeer. Can you name all of Santa’s Reindeer?

____

Previous Poems to Start the Week:
Dirty DishesFor My ReturningPelicanSchool is Out
There Was an Old Lady i thank you Godfinding ourselves
Breathes There a ManFogSnow DayOde to Things
A Visit from St. NicholasMiceAll In a WordThe SpiderThe Eagle
Some PeopleCustard the DragonStatistics 101The Spider and the Fly
Back to SchoolThe Inchcape RockOgden NashTrash
Hearts, Like DoorsCasey at the BatAlways a RoseHome at Last
Bag of ToolsCarpe DiemPoems About PoetryMan's Best Friend
Spelling is Tough Stough!Blue MarbleTacks, Splinters, Apples and Stars
Oh, Captain, My Captain!MetaphorIntroducion to Poetry
Loveliest of TreesFlax-Golden TalesThe Dinosaurs Are Not All Dead
Owl PelletsMummy Slept LateJust My Size
The Kindest Things I KnowMiles to GoLove that Brother
Oh, Frabjous Day!

Other Posts about Children's Literature:
The Lion's Paw top kid's OOP book!
Harry
Aslan is Dead!
Multiplying People, Rice, and Readers
A Teacher's Life

You can read some of my own efforts at poetry here.
And then there's Alien Invasion.

A weblog dedicated to Poetry for Children.
Watch Sonja Cole's reviews of children's books at Bookwink.com.
The PBS series Favorite Poem Project

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment