Stacey Morneault of Orrington knew what she was going to get for Christmas from her 16-year-old son, Josh — a poem he wrote — the same gift she has received from him for the past three or four years.
Josh, a sophomore at John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor, also writes poems as gifts to his mother on her birthday, for Mother’s Day and on other occasions.
“This is a Christmas tradition, my Christmas present every year from him,” Stacey Morneault said. “This year he wrote this two-page poem, and we almost died laughing when we read it, because of everything that happened. We had no power since Sunday night, but a friend let us use their generator. So that’s how this poem came about. He loves to write, and he’s into fine arts at Bapst — theater, in the band and chorale. He’s very much a storyteller.”
Because his parents enjoyed the poem so much, they decided to post it on Facebook. Response from Facebook friends was so enthusiastic, they took the suggestion that they should end the poem to the Bangor Daily News.
This is the poem, as yet untitled, Josh Morneault, wrote for his mother:
Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the rooms,
All the Morneaults were sweeping and swirling their brooms.
The stockings weren’t hung yet, and the stairs were quite bare,
Everyone was so stressed, they ripped out their hair.
Coco was nestled, quite snug in her bed,
While visions of milk-bone treats, danced in her head.
Mom in an apron, and Dad in his gloves,
Were running the water to fill up the tubs.
When down from the road there arose such a clatter,
We ran to the porch to see what was the matter.
A cable came loose from the pole with a flash,
As we lost all our power, it fell with a crash.
We ran to the pole, on the ground it lay flat,
When a man dressed in red walked out, jolly and fat.
“Ho, ho, ho!” he said, smiling with glee,
“I guess I should have looked out for that tree!”
“We’re out of power!” they said, in despair,
“It’s okay, Mom and Dad, that’s Saint Nicholas, there!”
So we brought him in and gave him a drink,
We boiled the snow, as we couldn’t use the sink.
“Thank you kind people!” Saint Nick said with joy.
“And in return for your niceness, I’ll give you this toy!”
He turned around swiftly, and as we faced his back,
He pulled out a generator from inside his sack!
“Oh thank you, Saint Nick!” I cried out with joy,
He turned to me and said, “Call me Santa, dear boy!”
And with that remark, he touched his finger to his nose,
Got into his sled, into the stars he arose.
And that was the story of that fateful night,
Of how we lost power, and lit candles for light.
Now on Christmas day, with that old-motor here,
All of the Morneaults will have power this year.
Josh said he modeled the form of his poem on the form of the classic and beloved poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Moore, which was first published in the 1820s.
“The hardest thing was how to start it,” he said. “The poem was on Dad’s phone, and I was reading it and using it to format the poem on my laptop that was running its battery. “We were without power for three days [because of the ice storm].” Josh said it took an hour to write his poem.
The family got power back on Christmas day.
“I don’t have driver’s license so I can’t just go out and buy gift for my mom,” Josh said. “I wanted to give her a something from the heart so I thought I’d write her a poem for Christmas. She was smiling when she got it.”
Josh also writes fiction and essays, and likes to entertain people. “Poetry is my strong suit,” he said.