This poem was my entry to a recent competition, where you had to write a modern twist on the classic story; T'was the Night Before Christmas. I didn't win, so maybe it's terrible, but it took me ages, so I thought I would leave it here for posterity! There are a lot of people going without this Christmas, and I thought it would be good to highlight the fact that sometimes we don't see what is right in front of us. So, if you get an opportunity to help someone out, or make them smile this Christmas, have a go, it might make you smile too!
'Twas the night before Christmas in a dark East End flat,
Where a moth-eaten kitty lay sprawled on the mat
By his side sat a thin man, eyes etched with concern,
Giving one last tiny log, an encouraging turn.
In a sparse bedroom above, children huddled in bed,
With just a thin blanket pulled up to their heads,
They tried to keep warm with thoughts of beef stew,
And hot cocoa, with cream and marshmallows too.
The fire had gone out when the man tiptoed in,
And tucked his own blanket up under their chins,
He zipped up his coat, with mounting despair,
Heaved a long heavy sigh, and sat down in the chair.
The cat sniffed the air and, in search of a mouse,
He disappeared silently out of the house
Once out in the street, though, hunger took hold,
And he shivered and shook from the terrible cold
A twinkling light glowed, from the tree lights next door,
And the laughter of children like he'd not heard before,
Curiosity beckoned and with the quickest of paw,
He slinked in through the gap in a just-opened door.
Once inside, how he wished he'd paused to reflect,
As a number of heads turned around to inspect.
A voice said; “Oh look, it's a cat, and he’s cold",
Poor kitty just stood there, now feeling less bold.
A little girl, hand outstretched, offered kitty some cheese,
And, drawn by his hunger, he accepted with ease,
He gently took it from her, then ran with his treat,
Straight back to his home and his old master’s feet.
The family followed, to see where he’d explore,
And were amazed to discover, people living next door!
A place, long since empty, still looked pretty bleak,
They knew that they shouldn’t, but they had a quick peek.
There were no signs of Christmas, nothing at all,
Not a tree, not a gift, not a card on the wall,
The children knew what to do and wrote out with care,
A letter to Santa so he’d know they were there.
As it flew up the chimney, they hoped it wasn’t too late,
And, just in case, put an extra mince pie on his plate,
That night, all was quiet, as snow settled all round,
Just one set of boot prints could be seen on the ground.
As the sun rose next morning, Christmas day had begun
And a huge pile of gifts began to glint in the sun.
The children looked out and couldn’t believe what they saw,
They flew down the stairs and threw open the door.
Tearing off wrapping, the man was astounded to see,
The children all squealing and laughing with glee.
Then down the path, their neighbours arrived,
With trimmings and treats and lots of mince pies.
As the children all played together out in the snow,
The fire roared like it should, with a welcoming glow.
Kitty sprawled once again on the fireside mat,
But, thanks to new friends, a fatter, happier cat!