Saturday, May 18, 2013

'Twas the Night Before Pentecost

'Twas the night before Pentecost when all through the church
Not a bishop stirred from his cathedral perch.

The reformers were hung out to dry in the air
In hopes they’d just leave in disgust or despair.

The obedient were nestled all snug in their pew
While visions of salvation grew and grew.

And the nuns in their civvies and the pope in his hat
Had just settled nothing so continued their spat.

When out in the world there arose such a clatter
I put down my rosary to see what was the matter.

Away to the newsfeeds I flew like a flash,
Tore open my browser after clearing the cache.

The loon on the cast of the talking head show
Gave the luster of sin to the pelvis and below.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature concern whipped into fear.

With little resemblance to facts or truth
I knew in a moment that it was uncouth.

More rapid than emails God’s Spirit, it came
But the hierarchy said, “This is something to tame.”

"Now bash her, that cancer! Now answer, you vixen!
On dogma, you’re stupid!  We’re fonder of Nixon!"

"You can stop at the kitchen, or clean the church hall!
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!"

"As dry heaves that before wild vomiting hurl,
We’d rather close churches than follow a girl!"

So up to the altar the clerics they flew
With glittering vestments and an empty pew.

And then in a twinkling we heard in the news
The dancing and stalling of episcopal crews.

As we knew in our heads clergy abuses abound
Down came their credibility crashing to the ground.

They were dressed all in silk from their heads to their toes
But their words could have won them Pinocchio’s nose.

A bundle of social doctrine they’d thrown out in the back
And acted like Vatican II was written by a quack.

Their chasubles, how they twinkled! Their preaching, how scary!
Their chalices, how golden!  But of women, they’re wary.

Their droll little quips about women are failin’
Except with Republicans or perhaps Sarah Palin.

A stump of dated biology they hold tight in their mind
Creating smokescreens of canons that restrict and confine. 

They have a broad set of rules that seem rather silly
But adhere to them all somewhat willy-nilly.

Some are chubby and plump; Some are jolly; some have wealth
But their culture is imbued with oodles of stealth.

A wink of their eyes and a twist of some facts
Without recourse they can give some people the axe.

But the Spirit speaks not a word just goes straight to its work
Filling the people – even if outside the pews they lurk.

And laying a foundation aligned with Christ’s actions
Gives a disapproving nod, then decries all the factions.

It works night and day, to its “peeps” giving a whistle
And we are all called as stated in Paul’s epistle.

But I heard the Spirit exclaim though it’s always out of sight,
"Happy Pentecost to all and may you all be guided right."

A parody of Clement C. Moore's poem, "The Night Before Christmas"


  1. This. Is. Hilarious.
    And also very sad because it's true.
    (Can we start reading this at Pentecost like they read the original at Christmas? Charlie Brown could probably get behind a dramatic reading; he tends to give credence to holiday traditions.)

    Well done.

  2. One of the cleverest things I've read in a long time. You should send it to someone that appreciates good writing and satire . . . like The New Yorker?

  3. Brilliant. I am not familiar with the original poem but I do get an idea, reading this. Hilarious indeed. "When out in the world there arose such a clatter
    I put down my rosary to see what was the matter." (...) "So up to the altar the clerics they flew With glittering vestments and an empty pew." And many more strophes that cracked me up. You ought to get on tv reading this aloud. Ewe for bishop!

  4. Here's the original text of Clement C. Moore's poem.

    'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the house
    Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
    The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
    In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
    The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
    While visions of sugar plums danc'd in their heads,
    And Mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
    Had just settled our brains 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 luster of mid-day to objects below;
    When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
    But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
    With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
    I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
    More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
    And he whistled, and shouted, and call'd them by name:
    "Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer and Vixen,
    "On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Donder and Blitzen;
    "To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
    "Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away 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 the coursers they flew,
    With the sleigh full of toys — and St. Nicholas too:
    And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
    The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
    As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
    Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound:
    He was dress'd all in fur, from his head to his foot,
    And his clothes were all tarnish'd with ashes and soot;
    A bundle of toys was flung on his back,
    And he look'd like a peddler just opening his pack:
    His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples: how merry,
    His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
    His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
    And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
    The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
    And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
    He had a broad face, and a little round belly
    That shook when he laugh'd, like a bowl full of jelly:
    He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
    And I laugh'd when I saw him in spite of myself;
    A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
    Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
    He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
    And fill'd all the stockings; then turn'd with a jerk,
    And laying his finger aside of his nose
    And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
    He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
    And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
    But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight —
    Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
    —Clement Clarke Moore

  5. The satire couln't have been done better if you ask me.


    Clericalism will hinder it from being spread,
    Cause en masse a blow of the axe they dread.
    Should you show it, their heads they will turn in a rush,
    Or down their memory's drains your poem will be flushed.

    So sorry.

  6. PS Two corrections are to be made:
    couln’t = couldn’t
    “away” should be inserted in between “turn” and “in”.