24 December: Twas the night before Christmas
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The panniers were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
Cyclists were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of future routes danced in their heads.
And mamma in her buff, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our noggins for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon 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 trike (and no tiny reindeer).
With a little old pedaller, so lively and quick,
I guessed at that moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his wheels spun as he came,
He whistled, and shouted, as he remembered them by name!
"No Dasher! no, Dancer! no, Prancer and Vixen!
No, Comet! No, Cupid! No Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
I’ll pedal! and pedal and I’ll give it my 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 his tricycle flew true,
With the box full of Toys, and St Nicholas’ dog too!
And then, in a twinkling, I heard a sharp squeal
The braking and skidding of each little wheel.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in merino, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
With a bundle of Toys and cycle cap on his tete,
He looked like a racer, opening his musette.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
“What a wonder” I thought as I looked at St Nick
“It’s no wonder winter cycling is such a great hit.”
The stump of a flapjack he held tight in his teeth,
And his smile it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was sturdy not plump, 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,
Made me think of a night ride rather than my bed.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the panniers, 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 his trike, to his bell gave a tinkle,
And away he sped off like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he pedalled out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"
With thanks (and apologies) to Clement Moore