Santa Bed Early

On the stroke of midnight, Santa fixed his motor,
And roared across a cerulean sky;
Every moment meant a ration or a quota
For the kiddies with a twinkle in their eye,
But the reindeer gazed forlornly at each rotor
As the Santacopter headed up to fly.

Yes, Santa had a helicopter gunship
And pensive skulls were stencilled on its side:
They marked the famous massacre on one trip
When some brats defied their parents out of pride,
And pounced on Santa's sherry after one sip
Before checking that the white beard wasn't dyed.

The sleighrides ceased thereafter; not a jingle
Could be heard across the icy stratosphere.
"My reindeer may not mingle, must stay single!"
Ordered Santa, who'd abandoned Christmas cheer,
And from that time children felt their terror tingle
As the stroke of midnight sounded loud and clear.

One year he left a message in each stocking
Which was meant to give the awkward kiddies pause.
It read "Next year, any snook you think of cocking
Will be punished by a sweet that cracks your jaws,
And electric chocolate eels will leave a shocking
Little mess inside your mouth, signed Santa Claus."

He whipped his elves, he caught a drop of dropsy,
His beard was fouled with cheese and nicotine;
Production lines, once neat, turned turvy-topsy,
Since he failed to fix his giant gift-machine.
Santa took himself a fairy as a popsy:
Oh, their lust, which melted icecaps, was obscene.

Now bedraggled, Santa manages his mission
Without plesaure, without zing or festive zest;
He is going through the motions of tradition
And is often thought a most unwelcome guest,
A bogeyman, a fearful apparition,
Used to kid unruly kids to get undressed.


All this happened in a parallel dimension
On a plane of time and space beside our own,
But it's very far from being an invention:
Santa's always been unstable. It's well-known.
So I thought I'd better give this tale a mention
Lest your kids are prone to sitting up alone.

For if Santa finds them red-eyed, rude and waiting
To discover if he's real or if he's not,
There'll be no end to the havoc he's creating:
He will tear them from their bunk or bed or cot,
And, without a hint of even hesitating,
He'll decapitate them neatly on the spot.

So if you would rather kids were chickens, headless,
Leaving bloodstains where you thought you'd find the toys,
I would recommend your little ones were fed less
Of the "Santa's kind and jolly, girls and boys!" -
And advise them, they should never once be bedless
On a Christmas Eve, but sleep, and make no noise.

Old men who take their reindeer for a canter
Over shopping centres ringing out their tills
Aren't the sort to beard, engage in idle banter
Or to quaff the cup of kindness that one fills:
There's a psychopath whose pseudonym is Santa -
So remember, every Christmas, Santa Kills.

From the book Rime Present