Sunday, January 4, 2015

2015.01.04 The Eleventh Day—Eleven Pipers Piping

Today is the Eleventh Day of Christmas. On this day the true love receives eleven pipers piping. These noisy celebrants symbolize Christ’s eleven faithful apostles.
I love the old English carol, originally written in 1720, about the partridge stuck in a pear tree, the best Christmas gift imaginable from a devoted lover to his/her true love. Right? The pear-treed partridge was only the first of twelve gifts, one for each day of Christmastide.

Each gift got more grandiose, including eight maids a-milking, a gift that stretches even my soul.   Finally the Magi, wise as they were, arrived at the manger with more practical gifts, cash-redeemable.

Mary Davies Cole, a poet and visual artist, and a friend who lives in Gloucester, wrote her own version. Works for me.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the First Day of Christmas
I was somewhat depressed, but not drastically so.
On the Second Day of Christmas
I noticed it was pitch dark at four PM.
On the Third Day of Christmas
The dog threw up on the living room carpet.
The living room carpet is an heirloom Heriz,
Rare for the bits of green in it.
On the Fourth Day of Christmas
The tree was already dropping its needles,
Adding to the bits of green in the carpet,
And causing the dog to throw up again.
On the Fifth Day of Christmas
We moved the cocktail hour to four o’clock,
And opened the Scotch. We also moved
The tree away from the fireplace, so as not to
Light the needles and the dog on fire.
On the Sixth Day of Christmas
I noticed there were no longer any French hens
In the coop outside let alone any partridges or even a pear.
On the Seventh Day of Christmas
I lost my gold ring in the wrapping paper
that had just gone to Jesus with the trash.
Happy New Year everybody!
On the Eighth Day of Christmas
We cleaned up after the Seventh Night of Christmas,
And ate black-eyed peas
But no one ever likes black eyed peas.
On the Ninth Day of Christmas I looked in vain
For the Nine Ladies Waiting for the Ten Lords Leaping
On the Tenth Day of Christmas. This led me
To wonder if the Tenth Lord was actually gay.
On the Eleventh day of Christmas
My depression was better, knowing that sometime very soon
The three guys would finally find their way to the manger
And we could, at last, put all this stuff away before
It was suddenly Hallowe’en and you know what happens next.
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas my true love said to me,
        What happened to your ring?
                                ©  Mary Cole, 2014