Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October 4: Saint Marty's Day Eve, Tapioca, "'Twas the Night Before Saint Marty's Day"

Allow me to put aside Annie Dillard on this Saint Marty's Day Eve to share one of the most famous Saint Marty's Day poems ever written.  Get that tapioca made and those presents wrapped.  It's almost time to raise your cups of Diet Mountain Dew in honor of Saint Marty.

'Twas the Night Before Saint Marty's Day

'Twas the night before Saint Marty's Day, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that Saint Marty soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of tapioca danced in their heads.
And Mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled our brains for a long autumn's nap.
When out on the roof there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen leaves
gave the lustre of midday to shadows by the eaves,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a cheerful, saintly figure, full of good cheer.
With a laugh so infectious, so lively and hardy,
I knew in a moment it must be Saint Marty.
More rapid than eagles, his coursers he came,
and he whistled and shouted and called saintly names:
"Now Peter! Now John!
Now, Francis and Paul!
On, Theresa! On, Bernadette!
On good old John Paul!
To the top of the porch!
To the top of the wall!
Now bless away! Bless away!
  Bless one and all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky
so up to the house-top the coursers he flew,
looking like Brad Pitt, and George Clooney, too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard up above me
Saintly feet walking and dancing, so help me.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
down the chimney Saint Marty came with a bound. 

He was dressed all in black, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all dusted with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his shoulders,
and he looked like a vision--a good, Christian soldier.
His eyes--how they sparkled!  His smile, how white!
His face, so angelic this Saint Marty's night!
His demeanor was gentle, peaceful and quiet,
he looked so handsome that he could cause a riot.
His halo and wings shone in the moonlight,
his robe was like snow, brilliantly bright.
He raised his hands in a blessing, filled with such grace
that even the pope would hang his head in disgrace.
He was pleasant and smart, a saintly good fellow,
and I laughed when I saw him, and offered him Jell-O.
  But a wink of his eye and a shake of his head
soon gave me to know he wanted tapioca instead.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose. 

He sprang to the roof, and took to the wind,
  I watched him with awe ascend and ascend.
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he flew out of sight,
"Happy Saint Marty's Day to all, and to all a good night!"

1 comment:

  1. I had a St. Marty's day dream last night. I dreamt that people rose in the wee hours of the morning to hang lights on their house and then, by 5:00 a.m. went from house to house admiring each other's lights. To enhance their views, they wore special goggles that attached to telescopes that fit over their heads but actually looked like pieces of silver stove-pipe. It was a festive but odd looking crowd and the spirit of St. Marty was palpable in the feelings of goodwill towards all.