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A Raven Christmas

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Christmas tales are merry and full of jolly and joys,
but today I’ll tell you a story without candy, nor toys!
One that has no happy end in this realm of existence,
But if you don’t mind that, read on ‘til it ends.

Somewhere in Ireland the day before Christmas
1836… the century of nineteen,
There was a young man, no more a boy, but keen
To write what his heart sent to his mind’s address.
Unfortunately the people didn’t seem to like his art.
And critique had always been hard
To digest for an artist’s frail soul
Especially if it was his goal
To gain money with it for his life…
And our poor writer did not sell a verse
He bought his last food (three days ago) by selling his purse
And he needed a wonder (from ol' Ho Ho Ho) this merciless winter
If he wanted to survive
This terrific coldness, that cut like a splinter
Into his skin under his worn-out, jaded coat
With the pockets full of the poems he wrote.

He wandered through the streets
Snowflakes dancing around him
But he only freezing and tired of treats
He got from the people, they sent him away
Leaving him hungry ant the rim
Of starving on this cold pre-Christmas day.
His feet felt unfeeling
From his heart hope was peeling
Like from a gravestone gold paint
With people’s pity so faint
At his pitiful look.
The fingers frozen, numb, barely able
To hold his scrapbook
His writing unstable
From his aching head
And his burning throat…
°If this misery’s living
I’d rather be dead!°
He thought as he went through unforgiving
Snow to his rundown abode…

But humans are evil, humans aren’t nice!
They tear down your shed
If you can’t pay the price
Of the lawn where the box once stood
Where you had your home, your memories, your bed
And all your worldly good….
And as I said; our guy was a poor one
He was starving, freezing and ill
And when he came home, his home was gone!
It gave him a thrill
When he realized
That on Christmas night
He would sleep on the streets, which all where iced!
And overcoming did fright
Our penniless writer
He’d probably die
If his fate didn’t get brighter!

So he tried to sell poems the rest of the day
Sold nothing but begged all to please let him stay
In their houses, their cellars, anywhere
Just not in the ice cold winter out there!
But no one showed mercy, they all just ignored
The man holding his chest, for his lungs were sore-d
By the illness he caught
Just the scarf he once bought
Relieved slightly the pain
But all his trials and hopes were in vain…

When night finally came over town
Our penniless writer, powerless fell down
On his knees, close to crying:
“Oh God I beg thee!”
He pleaded to heaven
“I ain’t afraid of to leave here
But afraid of the ache
When my body doth brake
So show mercy, don’t let me,
Oh Grateful, be dying!”
And thus went his first tear
As mourning wept Devan
Over his fate…
While the evening got night
And the night got late
He heard some footsteps by his side
Small footsteps from children
Alone, lost, freezing, forlorn...

And like little pilgrim
They sat next to him
“Dear Sir, mayest thou help us?”
they asked like God’s scorn
of his pleas in vain
“We freeze, can’t find home ‘cos
we lost our parents in the crowd.”
“For Goldsmith’ sake!” He cried out loud
“Can’t you see I have problems of my own?
I’m dieing here to put it plain!
So just leave me alone!”
The children they shivered from cold and from fright
And our fate stricken writer sighed
In defeat and tried to speak calmer
“Oh Christ, so then come under my coat
and you’ll get warmer
I can’t let you be freezing with streets over snowed.”
He said that so softly with a smile on his lips
The children felt safe now with him
And flung their arms ‘round his hips...

He smiled and read to them a sweat poem
Though his heart and hope was dim
“Your parents will soon come, take you home
Have no fear, don’t let your hearts be clouded
They lost you when the streets were crowded
I’m sure they’re searching yet for you.”
He whispered ensuring while a chill ran through
His body again. The children were warm
But not enough to ease the harm
Cold had caused to the trembling man
But it was not before then
That he had felt the spirit of Christmas.

He read them stories and poems so jolly
“And thus” he said, “spoke the shepherds; Lord bless
this child in the manger
let it not suffer under men’s folly
and not experience harm under Herod’s anger.”
Yes the oldest Christmas story he told
To the children who warmed and grabbed a hold
On him, so they wouldn’t sink to sleep
Because he feared their slumber’d be deep
And forever, not like, but BE Morpheus’ brother
Cold unfeeling death himself, no other!
And even though our writer’s powers faded
And the children grew tired
He read on and warmed and aided
To keep their little soul flames well fired
Through the whole Christmas night
When all was clam, all expectations bright
And watched over them.

He felt almost warm, when the sun’s first ray
Shone on rosy aurora on Christmas day
His body felt like burning and yet so weak
On this Christmas morning and in his arms
The children were save, like protected by charms
But still in his chest, this feeling so bleak…
Worried he thought °I can’t warm them much longer…
They are frail and much younger
Then I, and I can’t take any more
Of this terrible cold. I said it before
And I’ll say it once more…°
“Oh Lord, hallowed be thy name!
I beg you please, if only their parents came
To take them home into the warm chamber
Because the sun with her rays like ember
Can’t warm them and neither can I so Lord please hear---“
But he was interrupted by a blissful cheer
It was a young woman with husband,
He looked quite relieved, she cried and
They ran over to the three...

The children so happy struggled free
From under the coat of the writer
And ran to their parents whose hearts got lighter.
“Mummy, Daddy we missed you so badly
‘tis was cold and we frightened so madly.”
Mother, father and children they were reunited
And our freezing poet who had recited
His stories and poems and rhymes through the hours of dark
He smiled at this family, his coughing a soft bark.
He felt warm now, much warmer than ever before
When they came over to invite him to spent
Christmas with them, he smiling closed his eyes
And opened them… nevermore

The parent’s quickly took their children, telling them lies
“He was an angel, from heaven sent
now he’s just sleeping before going home
Don’t worry he doth be alright, now come!”
The little family went away from the cold man
Having a cheerful holiday then.
You may think now, that’s unfair
That’s not how the story should be ending?
Well it’s all depending
On what you imagine, a complete end is rare…
Likewise for our dead artist…

From out of the snow and the Irish morning mist
Hobbled a raven, garb, beak and talons night black
No other human saw the strange bird
He picked softly against the dead’s temple
And suddenly the air around him was stirred
By a soft breeze and a glow, green and gentle.
“Ah there he is, little soul I waited for you.”
Spoke said raven to the aura. “You’re long overdue!”

“Overdue?” Asked a voice, deep, rich and mellow.
“Ay!” replied the raven. His eyes smiling not yellow
but ghostly emerald green
just like deceased writer’s had been…
A vivid shining green orb now emerged
From the dead man’s chest where the heart used to be perched
Small like a marble, but glowing so bright
Like the Morningstar in the deepest of night.
“Yes overdue!” spoke the raven anew
while life rose and people and children pressed through
the streets, no one noticing the raven.

“Thou arest to go to thy new home, thy haven.”
And thus he lifted his talon to pick
Up the little soul, holding it tight.
“Fear not for I am thy guide from eternal night.”
“Odin’s servant?! What happened? Why don’t I feel sick?
I just felt like dying, now I feel nothing at all.”
The bird cawed as it flew off. “Oh poet thy understanding is small
Of what thou arest now, thy mortality hath gone!
But be still now for we are entering the Ghost Zone!”

Through a whirl of purple and green they did soar
A flashing, a rumble, pandemonium the writer had not heard of before
And underneath them no ground could be seen…
“What’s this place? This ghastly purgatory?”
The soul was in awe, the raven in rage.
“How dare you! It’s the Ghost Zone in all it’s glory
So leave the Catholics out of this you miscarriage!
Poor imitation of a writer! You insolent twit
Can’t grasp the beauty and fait that awaits in it!”

“Forgive me dearest Nightbird! I am but a scared human”
Our little poet scorned regaining his pride.
“Thou shallst be a God then
For thou hast passed to the other side!
Ghost thou art for now, later we’ll see
Until then thou arrest allowed
To wander now where thy heart leads thee.”
With this the raven released the little sphere
Which grew to a new shape, humanoid and proud
Emerald green eyes, a violet coat, grey scarf and raven hair,
Elliptic glasses, pointy ears, sharp teeth and a goatee to complete the look.
A ghostly version of himself, as new shape, the writer’s soul took.

“I am quite impressed….” Said the new born ghost,
regarding his fingerless gloves with almost
amazement at his perfect new habitus.
“So this means we are to part thus?”
He asked to the raven who lifted a wing
And pointed  into a direction. “No, to thy home I shall bring
Thee, then I shall leave, hoping wisdom will be earned.”
He started whispering as off he flew.
“And return I will, once thy lesson is learned…”
The poet did not hear the raven’s word as they passed through
The Ghost Zone until they arrived
At a ghostly mansion,
though old, yet revived
With the initials G and W at the gable I should mention.

And as they hovered on the steps our poet gulped in awe
In his head, this was the home he always saw
When he had imagined being but poor
“Yes this is the Ghostwriter’s home, this is YOUR
new home, I should say. Fill it with pride!”
Spoke the raven at the new baptized’s side.
“My WHAT!? Are you joking? This cannot be!
I’m poor, have always been, will always be the poorest guy you’ll ever see!”
He sighed at this memory… his life in one word:
Poor… that is it… “Have you ever heard
Of something called ‘karma’ the bird said annoyed
By the self-pitying specter who stared into the void.
“karma?... Uhm no… or yes, I think I did…
But as bad as mine is, how many crimes did I commit?”

Now it was enough for the raven, the ghost had a point there
But he didn’t fully understand the range of this thought…
“Oh poet what do you think were
those children to do,
had it not been for you?
Why do you think I brought
You here to this mansion which is yours?
Your Karma is splendid, that is the cause!”
The poet stared at him in disbelief,
He was too used to wallow in grief.
“You saved those two children, they would have died!”
Now the overworked and annoyed raven sighed.
“All this is yours, the house, library , stuff and each book!”
The writer still had a pretty dumbfounded look.
“Oh COME ON, mortal! Be happy! You just got
A chance many other mortals get not!”

Glowing emerald eyes under ebony brows
Shone happy and thankful and in curiosity aroused.
“If this word is true, dear raven my friend,
You are soooo invited to spend
This holiday with me in this marvelous place…”
And suddenly poorness and grief was replaced by grace.
“As nice as this would be, I have to say no,
Shall return one day, but for now I have to go
So farewell for now, may thy writing be of success”
Spoke the soul guard to the poet
Who replied with best demeanor:
“So be it farewell, may Hermes bless
you, graceful raven, to visit me soon in my new manor.”

How the story continues you know pretty well
… Now a rhyme on ‘poet’ I forgot to tell
you, so… AW CRUD!... nothing rhymes with poet!