Originally published December 13, 1979 The Augustana Mirror:


Twas the night before finals,

when all through the dorm

Not a creature was stirring,

but the harried book-worm;

Our nerves were all frazzled

from toil and from care,

And each lonely student was

pulling his hair;

The freshmen were hidden all

snug in their rooms

While visions of essays

predicted their dooms;

For I in my curlers and the

guy with his girl,

Had just settled down to give

studies a whirl;

When out on the lawn there

arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my desk 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 car-full of seniors all

full of good cheer,

With a short little driver, so

lively and quick,

I knew in a moment his

studies he’d licked.

More rapid than eagles his

answers they came,

And he whistled, and

shouted, and called them

by name;

Now, Mozart! now, Haydn!

now, Bach and Beethoven!

Oh, Chaucer! oh,

Shakespeare! oh, Milton

and Dickens!

From beginning to end! from

the rise to the fall!

He repeated, repeated,

repeated them all!

As dry leaves that before the

wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an

obstacle, mount to the sky,

So ‘round the parking-lot the

seniors they flew,

And as I watched them, my

confidence grew.

And then, in a twinkling, I

heard in my mind

All of the answers I’d been

trying to find.

As I drew in my head, and

was turning around,

In through the door Eric and

John came with a bound

They were all dressed for

winter, from their caps to

their boots

And I knew at a glance they

were in fiendish cahoots;

Their hands were well-hid

behind their backs,

And they looked like two

peddlers just opening their


Their eyes—how they

twinkled! their dimples

how merry!

Their cheeks were like roses,

their noses like cherries!

From their twitching

mustaches I suddenly did


That if I did not run I would

be bombarded with snow;

A white little ball each held

in his hand,

And my room all at once was

a snow winterland;

Their mouths broke out into

Christmasy smiles,

Making their faces a portrait

of guile.

Looking at them I saw two

mischievous elves,

And I laughed when I saw

them in spite of myself;

Two winks of their eyes and

two twists of their heads,

Soon gave me to know I had

nothing to dread;

They spoke not a word, but

went straight to their work,

And ate all the cookies; then

turned with a jerk,

And making a date for

Backgammon next year,

They left me all full of their

Yuletidish cheer;

They dragged me under the

mistletoe there,

And away they both flew into

the winter-night air.

But I heard them exclaim, e’er

they ran from my sight,

“Happy Christmas to all and

to all a good night.”