RALEIGH — My sons and I have a little holiday tale that we made up a couple of years ago based on something that actually happened at our house one Christmas. This year, I thought I’d render it in iambic pentameter, as all good holiday tales should be at least once. Merry Christmas:
The Littlest Christmas Bow
‘Twas at the start of Christmastime did they,
A smiling Boy and his oft-hurried Dad,
Assemble for their seasonal display
The bulbs and baubles, ornaments they had.
Within a bulging bag of loot they spied
A box of crimson, curling Christmas bows.
“We’ll put them on our tree,” the young one cried.
(He meant not “we” but “you,” we must suppose.)
And so each pretty twirl of red emerged,
Its loops arranged, then tied on cypress bough.
Until the last, down in the box submerged,
Was taken out, inspection to allow.
“There’s something wrong with it,” Dad soon exclaimed.
“It wasn’t made quite right, it’s not the norm.”
The Bow, it seems, could hear him – and, ashamed,
Looked down upon her tiny, twisted form.
Now, Dad had thought it best to toss aside
That littlest and lowly Christmas Bow,
Except the Boy protested, so Dad sighed
And found a humble perch for it down low.
The grateful Bow grew redder, pride did swell,
And bravely did as much as she could do
To stretch her width — but then, unbalanced, fell
Down deep within the tree, obscured from view.
So useless and so pitiful felt she,
That littlest and lonely Christmas Bow,
No way to help express upon that tree
The meaning of the day, a gift bestow.
From sounds of joy, commotion, and of praise,
The Bow could tell the season came and went,
Then, hearing nothing for so many days,
She lost all hope, did soundlessly lament.
All of a sudden roused, with violent shake,
She lost her hold and tumbled down once more
Until she landed, scared and wide awake,
To see the Boy and Dad across the floor.
The two were packing up the Christmas fare,
The lights and decorations in their box,
And dragging off the tree – when, unaware,
Upon the Bow the Boy stepped in his socks.
“We’ve left one out,” he said, “and it’s too late
To stick her with the others, down inside.”
And then he felt her little loops so straight,
His grin became a beaming smile so wide.
“Please, Daddy, can I keep this out all year
And hang it on my door so I’ll recall
This holiday, to save my Christmas cheer
Until again will Santa come to call?”
His Dad agreed, and so the Boy did keep
That littlest and lovely Christmas Bow,
To whom he winked each night before his sleep,
The spirit of great love in her aglow.
And so, when all seems lost, do not despair,
Your time will come to show, to shine, to share.
Hood is president of the John Locke Foundation.