Sunday, December 6, 2009

Poem: The Krampus

(He's coming for you, you naughty, naughty nipperkins!)

The Krampus

Oliver Gordon and Annabelle Grace
Lived in the vale ‘neath a mountainous place,
And I wish they were good, but that wasn’t the case.
For Ollie was wicked, and Annie was base.

They’d torture the cat with their mutinous play,
And they’d dash every vase in their parents’ chalet. 
No, they wouldn’t wear the stockings their mother had chosen,
And place toads in their grossvater’s best lederhosen.

They’d wriggle from bed, nor e’re wash their hands,
But fester the air with obnoxious demands,
And roll their eyes glumly—those ill-tempered brats!—
While filling their pockets with money they’d snatched.

Their poor haggard parents! But what could they do?
Throw the wretches in jail? Pass them off at the zoo?
They’d kneel in that church at the foot of the Alps,
And pray to the angels for heavenly help.

But far up the mountain, high on a slope,
Their words were conveyed to a black-hearted pope.
He was craggy and crooked and covered in hair,
And he carried a switch that he waved in the air.

His tongue it was forked, and it spilled from his mouth,
Like a river of evil that wound its way south.
I can scarce move my lips, and I know I’ll regret it,
But his name was the Krampus. Good Heavens! I said it!

Now it’s lately the fashion in higher society
To cast off the switch for a gentler piety.
Spare the rod for your child, if that’s your conviction,
But the Krampus, he lived in his own jurisdiction.

On the tenth of December, 1828,
Ollie and Annie were juggling plates
At the top of the stairs—which was strictly forbidden—
But they cared not a fig, O, those insolent children!

They screeched to their parents, “Pray, look you not listless,
But say right away what you got us this Christmas!
And tell Sinter Klaus, O, that fatuous troll,
That we’ll kick out his knees if he leaves us with coal.”

Just then there was heard at the window a scratch,
And the sound of a click as the door came unlatched.
And Oliver Gordon and Annabelle Grace 
Fell silent for once, and white in the face.

For there stood the Krampus, a high holy terror,
With that great ghastly switch for to beat out their errors.
He licked at his lips and he hissed out a threat:
“I shall give you a thrashing you shan’t soon forget!”

Annie shrieked and dove ‘neath where the tapestry hung,
But he seized at her feet with his truculent tongue,
And he whispered these words to his dangling prey,
“Oh, you hideous girl, here’s the price you shall pay!”

And he spanked her with glee ’til her bottom marooned
And a great rosy sunset lit low her bondoon.
How she wailed with each blow, one for every transgression,
One for each nasty lie, and for each indiscretion.

Ollie dashed for the door, to abandon his sister,
But the Krampus exclaimed, “Here’s a bottom to blister!”
And he yanked down his britches, in front of wee Annie,
And he scalded that beast of a bare-naked fanny,

With blow after blow from his smoldering spanker,
And he did it with joy. And he did it with rancor.
And their parents sat silent, their hands folded neatly,
For they knew this was coming. They knew it completely.

And their miserable wails issued all through the streets.
Some nodded their heads, others shuffled their feet.
Their torment careened through the valleys and trees.
It was heard in the church, and the ships out at sea.

And the Krampus, he tossed the two brats to the floor,
And shouldering his switch, he slumped to the door.
But he turned e’re he left, and he uttered these words,
“Remember, I’m watching, you dissolute curs!”

Now Ollie and Annie, they’re different these days.
They’ve cast off their wicked, incorrigible ways.
They’re kind to the kitty, and quick to their lessons.
They help with the dishes and go to confession.

And never a curse will you e’re see alight
On their sweet, doting parents, who brought them up right.
They fetch them their slippers and tea in a tray,
And it’s, “Yes, Vater!” “Please, Mutter.” “Ja, right away!”

And yet, now and then, every once in a while,
When they leave dirty dishes or clothes in a pile,
Or scowl at their parents, and act impolite,
There's a scratch at the window that sets them aright.

©Arthur Greenleaf Holmes

1 comment:

  1. Strange that my favorite poem of yours is a clean one. Merry Christmas, Arthur. Looking forward to seeing you next Texas Renfest.