“‘Twas The Night Before Christmas”: actually a tragedy

Wendy McClure of Poundy and Television Without Pity (and author of the forthcoming memoir I’m Not the New Me) shares her early attempts at poetry interpretation:

when I was six years old, my grandpa read A Visit from St. Nicholas (aka “Twas The Night Before Christmas“) aloud to me, and though I’d probably heard the poem dozens of times by then, I hadn’t realized that the narrator — maybe Clement C. Moore himself — vomits right in the middle of the story. It happens not too long after that part with the sugar plums dancing in the heads and so on, right after out on the lawn there arose such a clatter.

“‘I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter!'” my grandfather read. I loved his voice. ” ‘Away to the window I flew like a flash,’ ” he continued. ” ‘Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.’ ”

He stopped for a second. “Uh-oh,” he said. “He threw up.”

“Really?” I said. I could definitely understand why someone might throw up on Christmas Eve. Sometimes I worried that I would.

“Poor fella,” my grandpa said.


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