‘Twas (almost) the Night Before Christmas…

…and time for a festive poem

Zebra's Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the zoo

A heavy snow fell and the winter wind blew.

Lions and tigers were curled up like kittens

While shivering apes dreamed of blankets and mittens.

 

The littlest monkeys were cuddled together,

Huddled up safe from the cold winter weather.

Old giant tortoises snored in their shells,

And none of them heard the faint tinkle of bells.

 

None of them saw the bright sleigh in the sky

That raced through the dark in the blink of an eye –

An old-fashioned sleigh pulled by nine flying deer

And a man dressed in red, bringing warm Christmas cheer.

 

None of them saw, save for one little chap,

A stripy young foal woken up from his nap.

 

The zebra foal yawned as he shook out his mane –

Were those bells he just heard?  Was he dreaming again?

And what was that thing he could see in the sky,

Pulled by small antlered horses (if horses could fly)?

 

He stood in the snow, gazing upwards in wonder,

His little legs shaking, heart drumming like thunder,

But the zebra foal smiled as he watched them descend

Because somehow he knew that the man was a friend.

 

With a jingle of sleigh bells they came into land,

“Whoah-ho!” cried the man with a wave of his hand,

Then the laden sleigh drew to a halt by the foal

And a warmth filled his head and his heart and his soul.

 

The gate in his paddock fence melted away

And he trotted across to the magical sleigh.

 

“Hello little friend,” said the old man in red,

“I thought you’d be tucked up all warm in your bed,

But now that you’re here you can help me, perhaps:

My lead reindeer’s poorly and ready to collapse,

With a cold in his nose and a cough in his chest

Poor Rudolph could do with a bit of a rest.

I wonder, my friend, could you lead us instead?”

The zebra foal nodded his black and white head.

 

Soon he was harnessed, all eager, all ready,

The man took the reigns and he held the sleigh steady

As up, up, up they soared into the night,

And the zebra’s heart sang as his body took flight.

 

They soared over paddocks and snowy white grass,

Over cages with icicles gleaming like glass,

The snow stung his face and the winter wind blew

But the foal barely noticed and battled on through.

 

Then swooping down low over each nest and bed

The man left a gift next to each dreaming head –

Wonderful presents for all birds and beasts,

From woolly trunk warmers to monkey nut feasts.

 

There were cosy new slippers for sleepy sloth claws

And brushes and toothpaste for crocodile jaws,

With knitted hump hats for the cold camel calf

And an extra wide scarf for the long necked giraffe.

 

Soon every last creature throughout the whole zoo

Had a special gift waiting, all shiny and new,

Then the proud little foal brought the sleigh into land

And the man stroked his mane with a warm, loving hand.

 

“Well done there, my brave zebra friend,” the man said,

Ruffling the fur on his black and white head,

“Poor Rudolph seems better for resting a while

And it’s all thanks to you,” he announced with a smile.

 

“But there’s still one last gift that we mustn’t forget

And I hope you’ll agree it’s the best present yet,”

Then he reached up his hands and he pulled from his head

His own velvet hat, all cosy and red.

 

“If ever you’re lonely, or teary, or scared

Remember tonight and the magic we shared.”

Then the man tucked his hat over each zebra ear

And the little foal’s heart filled with fresh festive cheer.

 

“Merry Christmas, my friend, and farewell!” the man said,

As he led the foal back to his warm waiting bed,

Then he re-harnessed Rudolph and took to the skies

And the young zebra foal shut his tired little eyes.

 

 

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The Twelve Writing Days of Christmas

12 typewriters_LI.jpg

On the first day of Christmas

My true love sent to me

A draft pitch for a trilogy

*

On the second day of Christmas

My true love sent to me

Two words all smudged

And a draft pitch for a trilogy

*

On the third day of Christmas

My true love sent to me

Three chewed pens

Two words all smudged

And a draft pitch for a trilogy

*

On the fourth day of Christmas

My true love sent to me

Four boring verbs

Three chewed pens

Two words all smudged

And a draft pitch for a trilogy

*

On the fifth day of Christmas

My true love sent to me

Five Googled things

Four boring verbs

Three chewed pens

Two words all smudged

And a draft pitch for a trilogy

*

On the sixth day of Christmas

My true love sent to me

Six clichéd sayings

Five Googled things

Four boring verbs

Three chewed pens

Two words all smudged

And a draft pitch for a trilogy

*

On the seventh day of Christmas

My true love sent to me

Seven bodged beginnings

Six clichéd sayings

Five Googled things

Four boring verbs

Three chewed pens

Two words all smudged

And a draft pitch for a trilogy

*

On the eighth day of Christmas

My true love sent to me

Eight crates of biscuits

Seven bodged beginnings

Six clichéd sayings

Five Googled things

Four boring verbs

Three chewed pens

Two words all smudged

And a draft pitch for a trilogy

*

On the ninth day of Christmas

My true love sent to me

Nine agents’ answers

Eight crates of biscuits

Seven bodged beginnings

Six clichéd sayings

Five Googled things

Four boring verbs

Three chewed pens

Two words all smudged

And a draft pitch for a trilogy

*

On the tenth day of Christmas

My true love sent to me

Ten chores a-leaving

Nine agents’ answers

Eight crates of biscuits

Seven bodged beginnings

Six clichéd sayings

Five Googled things

Four boring verbs

Three chewed pens

Two words all smudged

And a draft pitch for a trilogy

*

On the eleventh day of Christmas

My true love sent to me

Eleven types of typo

Ten chores a-leaving

Nine agents’ answers

Eight crates of biscuits

Seven bodged beginnings

Six clichéd sayings

Five Googled things

Four boring verbs

Three chewed pens

Two words all smudged

And a draft pitch for a trilogy

*

On the twelfth day of Christmas

My true love sent to me

Twelve bums a-numbing

Eleven types of typo

Ten chores a-leaving

Nine agents’ answers

Eight crates of biscuits

Seven bodged beginnings

Six clichéd sayings

Five Googled things

Four boring verbs

Three chewed pens

Two words all smudged

And a last pitch for a trilogy