Old St. Grammar

By Lucy Chambers

‘Twas the night after Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were packed in the attic with care,
and the trashcan attested St. Nick had been there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of editing danced in my head.
Husband in bed, and computer on my lap,
I longed for nothing more than a long winter’s nap.

When in my email there arose such a clatter,
I sprang out of Safari to see what was the matter.
Away from that window I flew like a flash,
clicked open a message and prepared this blast.

The moon on the screen saver of new-fallen snow
gave the lustre of midday—or at least a strange glow,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively in manner,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Grammar.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
and he whistled and shouted, and called them by name:

“Now Agreement! Now, Tense!
Now, Citation and Usage!
On, Splices! On, Format!
On, Exceptions and Idiom!
To the top of the manuscript!
To hyphen away all!”
Now Em-dash away! En-Dash-
Dash away all!

As dry pages that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount pen to the sky
so up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
with a sleigh full of red pencils, and St. Grammar too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
the prancing and pawing of edits aloof.
As I keyed what was in my mind’s eye and turned ‘round,
down the chimney St. Grammar came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes—not tarnished—but embossed with a book.
With bundles of post-its flung on his back,
He looked like a peddler with an Office Max pack.

His eyes—how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like highlights, his nose like a query!
His droll little mouth drawn up like a tilde,
and his beard on his chin was curly and quilled.
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 laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old editor,
and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of non better.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his visor
soon gave me to know he’d be my adviser.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and corrected the copy, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
and giving a nod up, up the chimney he rose.

He sprang 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,

“Go to bed crazy editor, and have a good-night!”

Bright Sky Press: where Texas meets books holiday cheer