TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS IN BALI
(after Clement Clarke Moore)
Twas the night before Christmas
And in the villa on Rubbish Lane Way
Not a creature was stirring, not even a tokay.
The listrik was mati and all the candles aglow
The flying ants were swarming and the kids were suspicious
For they believed that St Nick was somebody fictitious.
They were huddled together on one bamboo bed
Trying to stay awake but their eyes were like lead
The Mrs. and I listened to the sudden barking of dogs
Joining the chorus of big-throated frogs.
Then there came from the garden such a loud clatter
I sprang from the tikar to see what was the matter.
The banjar returning from a ceremony afar?
Or a happy tourist gotten lost from the bar?
The moon on the lake that had been the front lawn
Glowed with a light that was brighter than dawn.
And what to my wondering eyes should I see
But a miniature dokar rolling past the lime tree
The driver was chubby, wearing udeg and sarong
And the dokar was pulled by eight little barongs
But was this St Nick? I admit I was doubtful
He looked an awful lot like the Australian consul.
The little old man was lively and quick
And pulled from his mouth a worn toothpick
To yell at his charges tugging his ride
Prancing and dancing with high-footed pride.
“Now Meester, now Seester, now, Toris and Bulé
On, Mas! On Gus! On Sambal and Gulé!
To the top of the porch, to that hole in the roof!
Get along quick, chop chop and hoof hoof!”
And then overhead I heard such a hard landing
I was surprised the walls were still standing.
As I drew in my head and was turning around
Through the hole Pak Santa shot through with a bound.
His beard was matted and he was shiny with sweat,
It’s humidity that gets you, on that you can bet.
He unslung his sack with almighty crash
Just like a picker who’s been through the trash.
“I don’t like the wet season,” he said with sigh.
“But your children have been good, at least since July.”
I wasn’t sure about that, but I wasn’t going to argue
In fact I was hoping there was a toy for me too.
He filled the kids’ baskets with all kinds of goodies
And surf school “The More the Merrier” hoodies.
“I must be off,” said he, “for there is still much to do.
Can you believe there are good children out there in Canggu?”
Up he sprang…and got stuck in the hole.
I pushed him through with a long bamboo pole,
And heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Selamat Hari Natal to all, and to all a good night.”