Now comes the time of year when Steeles
Are subject to the curse
Of having to either write or read
Strange labored lines of verse.
Forgive me that I do default
To limerick pentameter
(Of the varied rhythms of Robert R
I am not full inheritor).
This year I must take greater pains
Due to one simple fact:
Most of your gifts have not arrived.
I seek, then, to distract.
Ten days ago it was I heard
Announced on GBH:
“Shop with us, for well we have
A mutual need at stake.”
And so I chose with greatest care,
Your hobbies/interests in mind,
The best in public programming —
Out of hundreds I did find.
More online shopping followed;
Until I met my quota:
New camera for the family,
Used hubcap for the Toyota.
And though with each day passing,
There were cartons that arrived—
Hubcap, camera, vitamins —
Of one we stayed deprived.
In bitter disappointment
I surveyed the empty porch,
Wondering how I’d gone so wrong;
Where did I drop the torch?
When all at once I start to hear
The deep and distant laugh
Of one so far and yet so near,
Right up my neuro-path.
Just for one moment I get a glimpse
Of why we have this time.
I force my head above the swamp
And make out through the slime:
It’s not the colored lights we hang,
The caroles or the tarts;
For Christmas is not anywhere
If not first in our hearts.