Ebenezer’s Christmas Card

So what the dickens! Calling me a scrooge
for thrift and working like an honest man?
Do I employ a shameless subterfuge
to outsource Cratchit’s job so that I can
secure myself obscene amounts of wealth?
The money that I have is what I earned
by honest enterprise and not by stealth.
In fact, it’s from your ethics that I learned
that no one gives you anything in life.
Isn’t that what industry’s about?
I ceded pleasure and potential wife
to earn not near the money that you flout
conspicuously with transparent pride,
while most in your constituency bide

privations that would make this miser blush
from shame. You like to fabricate straw dogs
to pummel while you unctuously gush
out festive carols by your yuletide logs!
Yet all the time you’re feathering your nest
and leave it to the poorer of your peers
to borrow funds from their retirement chest
in order to partake of Christmas cheer.
And so what if I loathe commercialized
indulgences that lure us into stores
so credit unions can be subsidized
with interest rates that annually soar?
It’s true I didn’t have to be a scrooge.
But, being so, prevented a deluge

of bailouts jeopardizing all you banked
upon to comfort you in future years.
That caring spirit you deem sacrosanct,
and Dickens touts when Marley’s ghost appears?
I didn’t see too much of it when I
was left alone to scramble for myself,
beset with longings most folk satisfy.
Nor did my stocking on a mantelshelf
solicit Christmas cheer and merriment
that you could ill afford. For you denied
me love who, even now with smug content,
berate me for my bitterness and snide
behavior. You ignored a sad youth’s plight
that would have cost you nothing to set right

beyond that Christian charity you boast
about when reading my creator’s book.
What’s more, no grouch can entertain a ghost
unless he has the empathy to look
inside himself. For ghosts just haunt a heart
receptive to the warmth that lay within.
And after all, I played my paltry part
in emulating Him who’s free from sin.
But I still get a table in the rear
when I set out at night to eat my meal.
Alone, I add! For it’s just once a year
that relatives emotionally feel
some kinship with a grump set in his ways.
This notwithstanding, Happy Holidays!

Frank De Canio was born and bred in New Jersey and worked for many years in New York City. He loves music from Bach to Shakira to Amy Winehouse. Frank also attends a Café Philo in Lower Manhattan every other week, and a poetry workshop which are now, since Corona, ZOOM events. Read other articles by Frank.