In the quiet before daybreak, a dad claims his viewing spot
near a few conveniences, but on a nondescript patch where
a rusty pole, in long-troubled concrete, bears a streetlamp.
A tradition now, the spot seemed poor the first year;
yet there on the incline he still unfolds a chair,
nowadays marking it by dropping on the canvas
a tattered old blanket bearing Joy’s name.
When dashing like Comet from home he returns
with mother, children, blankets and snacks,
he finds a pastel city there grown up. One
that spans from curb to tram track
and over the sidewalk, block after block.
Just beyond, a wee lass in white sat
till a bell rang and up she sprang,
letter held high for the navy-suited
who sled to the Pole for Canada Post.
A relay runner-to-be, this wee one sprints
Skipping over parents and down the short steps to
deliver, as meekly as a mouse on Christmas eve,
the letter she’d been drafting for nearly a week.
But in her quiet, her instructions are implicit:
Mrs. Courier, take my list and deliver it —
On time, please, to 1 North Pole!
In a snap the mail bell re-peals and she watches
other young’uns buzz to add their letters to hers.
The scene sends doubt flying up
and momentarily gives her pause; But
in a flicker of time she decides to believe:
Yes, Santa does read all by Christmas eve.
And so, to wait with mother in a snowless air,
she returns; Eyes peeled for flying reindeer:
The ones who bring Santa on a practice run,
to see how in 12 mths the city has changed.
Later rudolf leads and they will deliver
Christmas wishes, as they’ve done forever.
But prior, with mother, wee ones chimes in,
as festively dressed carollers sing,
accompanied by horns and bells that tell
both the grown and the growing, to expect
Behind the flutes and the drums,
Behind the marching bands and the Mounties,
Behind the elves and the flying reindeer,
a familiar Ho, ho, ho-ing — At which
even Dad’s not too old to jump about.