‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a feline was stirring, nor was my spouse;
The telescope was set up and positioned with care,
For the Moon was shining brightly high up in the air;
The cats were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of catnip mousies danced in their brainless heads;
I sat by my telescope, perched on a chair,
And had just settled down for a long lunar stare,
When out in the desert there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the chair to see what was the matter.
Away from the eyepiece I turned in a flash,
Set aside Rukl and made ready to dash.
The moon rising high in the dark winter sky,
Gave an illusion of daylight to my adjusted eyes,
And what to those dilated pupils should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than roadrunners his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Davy! now, Darney! now, Proclus and Vieta!
On, Cauchy! on Cruger! on Darwin and Billy!
To the top of the mesquites! fly over them all!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As mesquite pods that before the wild monsoon storm fly,
When they meet with an obstacle and bounce to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
And landing they skidded over tiles that were still new.
The wind of their passages blew pages and charts,
And rattled the eyepieces, which gave me a start.
As I settled my papers and was turning around,
Down from the roof St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed in fake fur, from his head to his foot,
And he carefully shook his clothes free of ashes and soot;
“I saw where you were aiming,” he said like a true geek,
“And couldn’t resist pausing to have a quick peek!”
That Nick was a lunie came as a surprise!
Who’d think an astronomer would wear such a disguise!
His eyes darted toward the eyepiece, clearly drawn to that show,
And his beard so white in the moonlight did glow;
He looked just as I’d imagined, so long ago,
When my telescope was much smaller and yet suited me so;
With a wink of my eye and a nod of my head,
I stepped from the eyepiece and said, “Go right ahead!”
He spoke not a word, but went straight to my scope,
And stared at the Moon long enough that kids elsewhere lost hope,
Then shaking my hand he said “Thanks for the view!”
And handed me an eyepiece that was shiny and new.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew out of town like a missile.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he cruised out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a clear night!”