Wednesday, December 17, 2008

John Updike's "The Twelve Terrors of Christmas"

4. O Tannenbaum

Suppose it topples over under its weight of bomb-shaped baubles? Suppose it harbors wood-borers which will migrate to the furniture? There is something ghastly about a tree--its look of many-limbed paralysis, its shaggy and conscienceless aplomb--encountered in the open, let alone in the living room. At night, you can hear it rustling and slurping water out of the bucket.

7. The Carols

They boom and chime from the vaulted ceilings of supermarkets and discount malls--and yet the spirits keep sinking. Have our hearts grown so terribly heavy since childhood? What has happened to us? Why don't they ever play our favorites? What WERE our favorites? Tum-de-tum-tum, angels on high, something something, sky.

12. The Dark

Oh, how early it comes now! How creepy and green in the gills everyone looks, scrabbling along in drab winter wraps by the phosphorous light of department store windows full of Styrofoam snow, mockups of a factitious 1890, and beige mannequins posed with false jauntiness in plaid bathrobes. Is this Hell, or just an upturn in consumer confidence?


Anonymous said...

Ho Ho HA! Hell it is!


Zoƫ said...

Bah Humbug!

WiseAcre said...

Thank goodness I don't have to sing this carol any longer. I've passed it down to my son-in-laws :)

Over the river and through the woods
to my mother-in-law's house we go.
The wife knows the way and what to say
to prevent me from voting no.

Over the river and through the woods,
Oh, how the trip does blow.
It stings my mind and bites my butt
As over the rules we go.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Frances--oh dear me....
Zoe--Only in some respects! Not all!
WA--Lovely, lovely song. I shall add it to my Jingle Cats mix cd.