Clapper and the Christmas Bats

Clapper and the Christmas Bats

by Jim Hill

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And all was not great.
Santa’s crew was befogged
And Christmas was late.

Rudolph tried, yes he did,
To glow, oh so bright,
But a murk filled the sky,
An unlightable blight.

On nights such as this
Even Rudolph gets lost,
But the toys they must go
Whatever the cost.

Nine nervous reindeer shook
Their bells all a-jingle.
“Gadzooks! That’s the answer!”
Hoot-n-hollered Kris Kringle.

“Dash away to the cavern
of North Polarous Wonder;
Find the crusty old gnome
Residing down under!”

In a wink, Blitzen’s back
‘Midst a flap and a flutter,
With an odd little chap,
The pale color of butter.

An elf, at a guess,
Half-a-Kringle in size,
And he came with a team
Of most welcome surprise.

Squeaks, chitters and tweets,
Beats of multiple wings,
Filled the air all around,
Such marvelous things!

White, whispery wingspans,
As small as your fists,
Had come to the rescue
Of childrens’ wish lists!

Old, elf Clapper begrudged,
“My bats steer without sight,
So Happy Christmas to all,
And to all a good-night!


Susanna Leonard Hill (no relation) is running another holiday themed writing contest (see my Thanksgiving entry here). This one is a riff on ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.” Here are the rules, straight from the source:

The First Annual Holiday Contest is officially open!  Post your own version of Clement C. Moore’s traditional poem ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.  Your entry must be at least 12 lines/3 stanzas, not to exceed 40 lines/10 stanzas.  Entries may refer to any winter holiday you celebrate (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.) or to any combination of winter holidays, or no holiday – just a good winter-time story if you’re not comfortable with a holiday.

I had fun with this. A side note: this idea came out of PiBoIdMo and is one of the first that I’ve had the chance to expand on. I’d do more with this for a picture book. I was limited to 10 stanzas (see rules, above), and at 183 words I have room for a few more as needed.

29 comments

    • Jim says:

      My poor-writers-wife had to listen to me read it to her over and over again to nail the rhyme scheme. The things they do for love, right? She’s a music teacher and gives me comments like, “that line flips into 1/16th notes, not 1/8th notes.” Actually very helpful.

  1. Jim, this is great! I never even thought of bats – what an original idea! When you submit this to an editor, you can include a little back matter about bats to up the educational component and make your story extra-marketable 🙂 Well done! Thanks so much for entering!

    • Jim says:

      Hi Penny – glad you liked the poem. I got lucky with that snow bat picture. Just a quick google image search for “snow bat” and voila! Wish I knew the origin of it, I’d like to give proper credit.

    • Jim says:

      Thanks! It’s the line that makes me laugh too. It was almost “a quarter-Kringle in size” and might end up that way in revision. Well see.

  2. Great poem, Jim. A very creative slant! I hope you and some of the others get your poems published. In fact, putting them all together into a possible book would be a lot of fun 🙂 I’m having a wonderful time reading all the entries!

    • Jim says:

      Thanks, Kerry. I’m working on an anthology of illustrated kids poems that will be out later in the year. This one won’t be in it (not on theme), but maybe I can find a home for it someplace.

  3. Joanna says:

    I had such a laugh with this one. Snow bats to the rescue! And half-kringle as a unit of measure is officially in my vocabulary. Well done, Jim, love your entry.

  4. Linda Baie says:

    I guess it’s about time bats got a little respect, & flying for (& with) Santa is the ultimate. Thanks for the chuckle! I think so many of us have this rhyme scheme in our hearts this time of year!

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