A Visit from Old Nick

‘Twas the night after Christmas and at my address
 Festive papers were strewn in a Christmastide mess.
My wife and I, reeling from holiday booze,
Had just snuggled in for a winter night’s snooze;
When up from the parlour there came such a boom
As awakens a dead man from out of his tomb.
I grabbed for my robe and I crawled out of bed
To deal with invaders in my own homestead.
“What fiend could it be?” I most drowsily wondered,
As semi-unconsciously downstairs I blundered;
A burglar I thought, or perhaps a stray cat?
Well, whoever it is, we shall see about that.
I tripped on the carpet and fell down the stairs
There goes the chance to catch him unawares.
When I looked in the parlour I espied him right quick
And I knew in an instant it must be Old Nick.
The devil was downing a bottle of gin
And he beckoned at me to stand up and come in.

“Now Clement”, he said, “Your poem’s in the books
“About old Saint Nicky, the patron of crooks.
“And I thought how those verses augmented his station;
“Mayhaps you could tone down my bad reputation.”

“But you,” I replied, “are the Lord of the Flies!
“What can I write that would not be just lies?
“You’re an evil old bastard, a cheat and a thug
“And those are your good points, you horrible slug.”

“No need to be spiteful you unthinking lad,
“You merely must write that it’s good to be bad.
“There’s plenty of room for my views to chime in;
“After all I’ve been here since the very first sin.
“There are so many things that you humans do wrong
“You implicitly beg me to tag right along.
“You strut and you preen and act over your station:
“Sing praises to me and boost your reputation!”

“Now look here, you devil, I won’t sing your laud,
“My allegiance is first to the One Holy God.”

“No need to get angry, old Clement my lad
“You know how I hate it when humans get mad.
“Oh wait, I applaud it, like envy and greed;
“Perhaps it’s a little refreshment you need.”

With an uncanny smile and a wave of his claws
He laid out a spread to give trenchermen pause.

“Dig in, Clement; eat ‘til your hunger is sated,
“All that moderation is way overrated.
“And after you dine lie down here for a nap;
“I can conjure a beauty to dance in your lap.”

“I have thoroughly partied and kept a great feast,
“but refuse your temptation to act like a beast.
“My Lord Jesus Christ is my God and my guide
“And his heavenly power will keep you from my side!

So I walked up to him where he stood on the floor
And kicked his caboose ‘till he ran out the door;
But I heard him exclaim as he slunk down the lane,
“This isn’t the end, I’ll be coming again!”


Originally posted on Writer's Digest