Monday, December 24, 2012

bob the bum's christmas

by horace p sternwall

illustrated by konrad kraus

artistic supervisor: rhoda penmarq

bob was a bum
his brain was in a constant hum
from drinking whiskey wine and gin
o what a state they left him in

he was in for the long haul
and did stumble trip and fall
from tijuana to bangor maine
landing on sidewalks feeling no pain

no barroom light was e'er so dim
as not to shine through fog to him
and he would crawl on hands and knees
through their doorways, if need be

up to the rail he would slink
hoping some kind stranger would buy him a drink
but since the truth can not be hid
hardly anyone ever did

so, if the tale can be believed
bob found himself on christmas eve
in west new york - or was it hackensack?
looking up at snowflakes as he lay on his back

and every flake was a memory
of all that he had hoped to be
and as they piled up on his face
he thought he heard a far off trace

of a happy song of long ago
through the more rapidly falling snow
and then amidst the wintry whirl
he spied the face of a little girl

the little match girl - no surprise
and then before his wondering eyes
the little drummer boy appeared
then st peter with his long white beard

the ghostly trio cleared their throats
st peter and the girl struck notes
on harps that they had brought along -
the three began to sing a song

"since this christmas may be your last
let us sing of good times past
before the crackling family fire
before your straits were not so dire

when end of year brought promise bright
and happy children's pure delight
at presents purchased with honest wages
you laughed at winter's furious rages - "

the song went on, the words grew faint
but on the wind he heard the plaint
of a little girl at a tavern door
crying "daddy, daddy, please no more

come home before you spend all your pay"
yes, that was the song of yesterday
now he was tired - oh so tired -
beneath the snow the bum expired

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