James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

To Santa Claus


Most tangible of all the gods that be,
O Santa Claus-- our own since Infancy!
As first we scampered to thee-- now, as then,
Take us as children to thy heart again.

Be wholly good to us, just as of old:
As a pleased father, let thine arms infold
Us, homed within the haven of thy love,
And all the cheer and wholesomeness thereof.

Thou lone reality, when O so long
Life's unrealities have wrought us wrong:
Ambition hath allured us--, fame likewise,
And all that promised honor in men's eyes.

Throughout the world's evasions, wiles, and shifts,
Thou only bidest stable as thy gifts--:
A grateful king re-ruleth from thy lap,
Crowned with a little tinselled soldier-cap:

A mighty general-- a nation's pride--
Thou givest again a rocking-horse to ride,
And wildly glad he groweth as the grim
Old jurist with the drum thou givest him:

The sculptor's chisel, at thy mirth's command,
Is as a whistle in his boyish hand;
The painters model fadeth utterly,
And there thou standest--, and he painteth thee--:

Most like a winter pippin, sound and fine
And tingling-red that ripe old face of thine,
Set in thy frosty beard of cheek and chin
As midst the snows the thaws of spring set in.

Ho! Santa Claus-- our own since Infancy--
Most tangible of all the gods that be--!
As first we scampered to thee-- now, as then,
Take us as children to thy heart again.

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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