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A Christmas Peril

by Kent M. Pitman

’Twas the first iceless Christmas, and all through the world,
  it was warm enough now, the last snowflake had swirled.
The stockings were hung in the humid night air
  in mem’ry of times when St. Nick would come there.

The children were sweating atop a clean sheet,
  wishing somehow they’d manage to beat the night heat.
My stories of polar caps had some appeal,
  But I couldn’t explain—it just sounded surreal:

I’d point to the freezer then wave my arms wide,
  “It was just like in there—but they had it outside.”
The kids couldn’t fathom the words they were told
  of an ocean of water, turned ice by the cold.

So my tales of such things must have ended up boring.
  All I know, in the end, is it had them soon snoring.
Then I kissed their small foreheads, and looked to the sky,
  and thought about how we had got here, and why.

As I watched through the fog and the mist and the haze,
  A twinkle of something soon captured my gaze.
I patiently watched as it moved to our shore.
  Each moment that passed, I could see a bit more.

An orca, eight dolphins, with someone in tow.
  Even at SeaWorld I’d seen no such show.
The figure approached and I poured up some nog,
  It was plainly St. Nick coming out of the fog.

But to my horror, slung over his back,
  weren’t presents but coal brimming out of his sack.
Nor was it the clean kind, or some such confusion.
  He was angry, you see, there could be no illusion.

“You’re killing the planet,” he said with a frown,
  It’s time you got busy and turned that around.
He fussed and he fretted. He was loaded for bear—
  Not that any were left, I thought with a scare.

And just about then, I screamed—and it woke us!
  It had all been a dream, but in frightening focus.
I told of my dream to my kids, still sheet white,
  “It was awful,” I said, “but may soon be our plight.”

We wrote up a letter to Santa that night,
  It was different than normal, and much more contrite.
“Dear Santa,” it started, and went on from there.
  We wanted him knowing we really do care.

“We’ve given no thought to the plight of the elves
  as the ice has been melting and falling from shelves.
We’ve taken your toys for a number of years,
  it’s time we helped you, lest more ice turn to tears.”

“Don’t worry about us, we’re feeling a shift,
  The Earth, by itself, is enough of a gift.
Whatever it takes, after this Christmas Carol,
  it’s time we wake up to our planet in peril.”

So we propped up the letter, with cookies and tea,
  And I tucked in the kids, feeling finally free.
There was still much to do, in the days up ahead
  But for now I was calm again, ready for bed.

As I drifted, I heard a voice, ever so slight,
  “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a cool night!”

Copyright © 2008, 2009, 2011 Kent M. Pitman.
All Rights Reserved.

Permission to copy, to distribute, and to perform or publicly display this work is granted provided that the work, including this copyright notice, is copied in its entirety, that the work is not modified, that no derivative works are created, and that the use is non-commercial. All other uses require negotiated permission.

This is version 1.3.
Version 1.1 corrected some slight wording glitches.
Version 1.2 changed some lines that had poor meter.
This newer version corrects another small bit of metering.

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Copyright © 2011 by Kent M. Pitman. All Rights Reserved.