A Visit From the Garden Elf
With apologies to Roger Swain!
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the yard
Not a creature was stirring, the ground was so hard.
The plantings were mulched and composted with care,
In hopes that the field mice were not nesting there.
Perennials were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of seed packets danced in our heads.
With Dad in his gaiters and Mom in showshoes
And most of the neighbors away on a cruise.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my tub to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
And shouted "Who dares ruin my bubble bath!"
The sun on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature wheelbarrow pulled by a Deere,
With a little old driver, whose smile so insane,
I knew in a moment it was Roger Swain.
Brighter than holiday lights his suspenders,
And fresh-fallen snow was on his tractor fenders.
"Now! Pumpkins! Now! Pole beans! Now Cosmos, and Rose!
You're sleeping and strengthening under the snow!
You'll cover the porch! You'll cover the wall!
But not `til next Spring! So sweet dreams for all!
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So into the chopper and onto the pile,
We'll put them to good use after a while.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard in the shed
The crashing and clanging of ice skates and sled
As I grabbed for my towel and pulled out the plug
Roger called up, "Now come out of that tub!"
He was dressed all in flannel, from head to his toes,
And L.L. Bean boots were covering those;
A bundle of birdseed was flung on his back,
And he looked like a lumberjack carrying a pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
An ergonomic snow shovel tight in his hands,
I wondered what possibly could be his plans.
He tied up his boots with their bright woolen socks
That were rolled up high and peeked out the tops.
He was rosy and cheery, a right jolly old elf;
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And shoveled my driveway; then turned with a jerk,
And flicking the last snowflake off of his nose
And giving a nod, up the porch steps he rose;
He kicked off his boots, and shook off the flannel
And turned my TV to the Home-Garden channel.
And I heard him exclaim, as he turned on the lights,
"Break out the hot cocoa! I'm spendin' the night!"