Although I said I would not post anything more today, this poem just came “over the transom,” as we used to say (does anyone here remember what a transom is? In the publishing world, it used to mean an unsolicited manuscript.)

Fred Smith worked for many years as an assessment specialist in the New York City Board of Education. In recent years, he has advised opt out parent groups.

Thank you, Fred!

Christmas 2022

From North Pole to South Pole, ’22’s been a mess.

‘Twas enough to leave Santa in a state of distress.

All-day cable kept pounding loud noise in his head;

The news sent him spinning and straight to his bed.

Reindeer were moaning and his disheartened elves

Didn’t want to make more toys to re-stock the shelves.

The world seemed bereft of its natural rhythm.

Would this holy night be without him or with him?


All manner of assaults devastate Mother Earth.

Corporations put profits above human worth:

Ice caps keep melting; fires destroy forest ranges;

Storms pour down floods, while pols deny plague-like changes.

Polarization’s become the norm in our states;

Trash talk flowing freely in degrading debates.

Pro-life activists who are against gun restrictions,

Hold both viewpoints despite the clear contradictions.

Each hour he was hearing about war in Ukraine;

Continuous suffering and far too much pain.

Inflation and hate crimes rising without any end;

School and shopping mall murders tracking a tragic trend.

And supreme godly judges from the loftiest heights

Letting state legislatures limit people’s birthrights.

Another flu cycle and Covid keeps morphing,

As we welcome winter—more folks unmasked and coughing.


So, Santa felt down and couldn’t get going,

Or force being jolly behind hollow Ho Ho-ing?

Oh, how he missed Macy’s when kids had his ear,

Whispering wishes, “I was good the whole year…”

Though he twice-checked all the names on his “Nice” children’s list,

Naughty kids snuck up for presents that had an odd twist.

He recalled some notorious brats on his knee,

Whose desires foreshadowed the grown-ups they’d be:

There was a young girl, her first name was Marjorie,

She demanded pet vipers for her menagerie.

Lindsey drawled for a Jekyll-Hyde, bobble head doll;

“Just a skunk,” Jim Jordan ordered with a snide snarl.

Mitch dreamed of an 8-Ball where all answers were “NO!”

A reply he took with him from those days long ago.

Someone pushed little Herschel to run, run and look

For an “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” pop-up coloring book.

“I need a chameleon,” Elise squealed chubby-faced.

Color-changing lizards perfectly suited her taste.

Joe humbly prayed for stamina and longevity,

Kamala waited her next—all smiles and levity.

While Eric was craving a large looking glass,

De Blas wasted his chance—late and hopeless, alas.

Andrew chose a fairy tale in which bold lying shows

A wooden boy exposed by the size of his nose.

Rudy could not understand the joy and sunshine

Santa brought to the youngsters waiting on line.

He jeered at their belief in this man dressed in red

And scoffed at the notion he flew in a sled.

Yet, when his turn came, Rudy craved a loudspeaker

And a billy club to bully those who were weaker.

Away from the crowd, a lonely boy viewed the scene;

Brooding in the back seat of his dad’s limousine.

He loathed the bell ringers just outside of the store,

Collecting coins from kind donors to help out the poor.

He had cruel disdain for social disparities,

But realized he could steal through self-dealing “charities,”

Like shortchanging workers, and rigging the tax game,

And conning saps into signing fat checks in his name.


Meanwhile, Mrs. Claus could be heard gently nagging,

“Nicholas, get up now, this is no time for dragging.

We’re feeling despair, Dear, the most I can remember,

But that’s no excuse to stay home late in December.”

I wish this Eve’s poem could close with unrestrained cheer,

But don’t know for certain whether he’s coming this year.

For Santa’s, like Tinker Bell’s, light has grown dim.

Perhaps, the pure love of childhood will replenish him.

And his blue eyes will twinkle, and he’ll rev up his sleigh.

My heart says he’ll deliver on this Christmas Day.