For Portal Village
By Lisa van der Wilt

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the village
Not a senior was stirring, not even a nurse.
The slippers were nested by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Jenny soon would be there.

The seniors were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of pills danced in their heads.
And Paige in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature bus, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a tall pretty driver, with the look of a new shiny penny,
I knew in a moment it must be Jenny.
More rapid than eagles her coursers they came,
And she whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Florence! now, June! now, Joan and Mary!
On, Betty! On, Gloria! On, Elizabeth and Jerry!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the village-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and Jenny too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Jenny came with a bound.

She was dressed all in diamonds, from her head to her foot,
And her clothes were all tarnished with fur and loot.
A bundle of Toys she had flung on her back,
And she looked like a peddler, just opening her pack.

Her eyes-how they twinkled! her dimples how merry!
Her cheeks were like roses, her nose like a cherry!
Her droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the hair on her head was the color of her toe.

The rock of a necklace she held tight in her teeth,
And the fire it crackled around her like a wreath.
She had a broad face and a little bit of a belly,
That shook when she laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

She was pretty and rich, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw her, in spite of myself!
A wink of her eye and a twist of her head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

She spoke not only a word, but went straight to her work,
And filled all the slippers, then turned with a jerk.
And laying her finger aside of her nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney she rose!

She sprang to her bus, to her team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard her exclaim, As she drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to the seniors, and to all a good-night!”

This was written back when I was fourteen years old for a senior home I volunteered at in the Port Colborne, Ontario area!

It was one of my favourite memories they even had me do a live reading!

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