Merry Christmas From Jardinami Lake House!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Annie and Willie's Prayer, One of my favorite Christmas Poems

Written by Sophia Snow

Twas the eve before Christmas, good night had been said,
And Annie and Willie had crept into bed.
There were tears on their pillows, and tears in their eyes,
And each little bosom was heaving with sighs,
For tonight their stern father's command had been given
That they should retire precisely at seven
Instead of at eight--for they troubled him more
With questions unheard of than ever before.

He had told them he thought this delusion a sin,
No such creature as "Santa Claus", ever had been
And he hoped, after this, he would never more hear
How he scrambled down chimneys with presents each year.
And this was the reason that two little heads
so restlessly tossed on their soft, downy beds.

Eight, nine and the clock on the steeple tolled ten,
Not a word had been spoken by either till then.
When Willie's sad face from the blanket did peep,
And whispered, "Dear Annie, is you fast asleep?"
Why no, brother Willie," a sweet voice replies,
"I've long tried in vain, but I can't shut my eyes,
For somehow it makes me so sorry because
Dear Papa has said that there is no "Santa Claus."
"Now we know that there is, and it can't be denied,
For he came every year before Mama died.

But, then, I've been thinking that she used to pray,
And God would hear everything Mama would say,
And maybe she asked him to send Santa Claus here
With that sackful of presents he brought every year."
"Well,why can't we pray just as Mama did then,
And ask God to send him with presents again?"
"I've been thinking so to," and without a word more
Four little bare feet bounded out on the floor,
And four little knees the soft carpet pressed,
And two tiny hands were clasped close to each breast.

"Now, Willie, you know we must firmly believe
That the presents we ask for we're sure to receive:
You must wait very still till I say the 'Amen,'
And by that you will know that your turn has come then."
"Dear Jesus, look down on my brother and me,
And grant us the favor we are asking of thee.
I want a wax dolly, a tea set, and ring,
And an ebony work box that shuts with a spring.
Bless Papa, dear Jesus, and cause him to see
That Santa Claus loves us as much as does he,
Don't let him get fretful and angry again
At dear brother Willie and Annie, Amen"

"Please Jesus, let Santa Claus come down tonight,
and bring us some presents before it is light,
I want he should div' me a nice little sled,
With bright shinin' runners, and all painted red;
A box full of candy, a book and a toy,
and then, dear Jesus, I'll be a good boy.Amen"

Eight, nine and the little French clock had struck ten,
Ere the father had thought of his children again.
He seems now to hear Annie's half suppressed sighs,
And to see the big tears stand in Willie's blue eyes.
"I was harsh with my darlings," he mentally said,
"And should not have sent them so early to bed,
But then I was troubled, my feelings found vent,
For bank stock today has gone down ten percent.

But of course they've forgotten their troubles ere this,
And that I denied then the trice asked for kiss,
But, just to make sure, I'll go up to their door,
For I never spoke harshly to my darlings before."
So saying, he softly ascended the stairs,
And arrived at the door to hear both of their prayers.
His Annie's "Bless Papa" drew forth the big tears,
And Willie's grave promise fell sweet on his ears.
"Strange-strange-I'd forgotten," said he with a sigh,
"How I longed when a child, to have Christmas draw nigh."
"I'll atone for my harshness" he inwardly said,
"By answering their prayers ere I sleep in my bed."
Then he turned to the stairs and softly went down,
Threw off velvet slippers and silk dressing gown,
Donned hat, coat and boots, and was out in the street,
A millionaire facing the cold, driving sleet!

Nor stopped he until he bought everything
From the box full of candy to the tiny gold ring.
Indeed, he kept adding so much to his store,
That the various presents outnumbered a score.
Then homeward he turned, with his holiday load,
With Aunt Mary's help, in the nursery was stowed.
Miss Dolly was seated beneath a pine tree,
By the side of a table spread out for her tea.
A work box well fitted in the center was laid,
And on it the ring for which Annie had prayed.
A soldier in uniform stood by a sled
"With bright shinning runners and all painted red."
There were balls, dogs, and horses books pleasing to see,
And birds of all colors were perched in the tree!
While Santa Claus, laughing, stood at the top,
as if getting ready more presents to drop.

As the fond father the picture surveyed,
He thought for his trouble he had amply been paid,
And he said to himself, as he brushed off a tear,
"I'm happier tonight than I've been in a year.
I've enjoyed more pure pleasure than ever before,
What care I if bank stocks fall ten per cent more.
Hereafter, I'll make it a rule, I believe
To have Santa Claus visit us each Christmas Eve."

So thinking, he gently extinguished the light,
And tripping down stairs, retired for the night.
As soon as the beams of the bright morning sun
Put the darkness to flight, and the stars one by one,
Four little blue eyes out of sleep opened wide,
And at the same moment the presents espied,
They out of their bed they sprang with a bound,
And the very gifts prayed for were all of them found.

They laughed and they cried, in their innocent glee,
And shouted for Papa to come quick and see
What presents Old Santa Claus brought in the night
Just the things that they wanted and left before light.
"And now," added Annie, in a voice soft and low,
"You'll believe there's a 'Santa Claus', Papa I know."

While dear little Willie climbed up on his knee.
Determined no secret between them should be,
And told him soft whispers how Annie had said
That their dear, blessed Mama, so long ago dead,
Used to kneel down by the side of her chair,
And that God up in heaven had answered her prayers.

"Then we dot up and prayed dust well as we could,
And God answered our prayers,now wasn't he good?"
"I should say that he was, if he sent you all these,
And knew just what presents my children would please.
"Well, well, let him think so, the dear little elf,
it would be cruel to tell him I did it myself."

Blind father! Who caused your stern heart to relent,
and the hasty words spoken so soon to repent?
Twas the being who bade you to steal softly upstairs,
and made you his agent to answer their prayers.

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