The Tide Before Christmas

December 13, 2010

Early one morning, last December, even before the sun was up, inspiration struck and I adapted Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from St Nickolas” (The Night Before Christmas) to better fit out island style.  While I am not the first to do such a thing, I did try to capture the unique style of life associated with island living.  I hope you enjoy it!

The Tide Before Christmas

‘Twas the tide before Christmas, and all along the bay
not a creature was swimming, not even a ray
The shrimp boats were moored pier side with care,
in hopes that large fish schools soon would be there.

The sand crabs were nestled all snug by the dunes
and dreamed of beach combing eluding the loons.
And you in your waders and I wrapped with a mat
headed home from beach walking, ’twas too cold for no hat.

When just then the sea arose in a lather
I tripped over my feet only able to blather.
Away to the dunes we flew with a crash
and looked at the water alive with a splash

The moon on the spray up from the boil
gave a strange glow to all of this toil.
When, to our amazement should appear,
an odd clam-sleigh with shrimp for reindeer.

Yes he was there, but not like you’d expect
ol’ nick was in shorts, from vacation I suspect
Faster than dolphin his champions did ply
singling their names, it seemed they would fly.

“Now Flounder! now Crabby! now, Pincher and Whaley,
On, Conch Shell, On Coral, on Sailfish and Eelie.
To the top of a swell to the top of a wave
Now swim away! Swim away, Swim away -be brave!”

As foam on the waves in whirlwind takes flight
or tide bends and rips and you angle right
So up to the wave crest the champions then swam
with St Nick and the toys, and his sleigh made of clam.

And then just so softly, we heard on the sand
the clicking and snapping of shrimp on the land.
As we hid in the dunes and pulled ourselves low
next to our side, we saw St Nicholas’ glow.

Not dressed like you’d think from his head to his foot
beach-ish were his clothes, at least there’s no soot.
The toys were all dry and kept safely from harm
He looked like a Parrothead and so full of charm.

His face was quite tan and blown was his hair,
his sandals were all worn from years of wear.
His mouth had a smile only beachcombers know
and his tan made his beard whiter than snow.

A stir-straw he chewed, the type from a drink
with salt on his chin, from a margarita I think.
I knew when he smiled he truly was real
and his belly shock some as he turned on his heel.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly ol’ salt
but somehow seemed saintly, with nary a fault
and then he did wink and widened his smile
as if to just say the nights task is worthwhile.

We followed behind as he went to each home
next to the beach from where we did roam.
Some magic he used to enter each one
checking his list until he was done.

Then back to the clam, that carried him fast
and away the shrimp pulled and huffed in a blast
We heard him exclaim as he sailed out of sight
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”


  1. Love your photography!
    Love your poetry!
    Thank you for sharing your talents!
    Mary Hitt

    • Thanks Mary. Been a while since I posted any poetry but I am getting the itch!

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