The Christmas Raven

Once upon a midnight dreary while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a long and labored-over list of retail stores,
Searching for that perfect token of a friendship long unbroken
That would speak my yet unspoken feelings that I'd felt before;
Hopeful feelings that this friendship might evolve to something more.

But the choices were so many! and I hadn't spent a penny
For there wasn't any gift I'd found that she would not abhor;
So with credit card clutched tightly I would search the mall twice nightly,
Each store looking more unsightly than the one I'd seen before --
And each separate note of Muzak would disgust me to the core,
Yes, each separate note of Muzak would disgust me to the core.

So I wandered through the aisles with my face bereft of smiles
Looking for that perfect gift that would my sentiments outpour
Till with grief I tore my Visa, crying out, "Forgive me, Lisa --
I shall never find that present which you'll cherish and adore!"
Then I crumpled to my knees beneath the pressure of the chore.

Then, from Dillard's Christmas banner I perceived a croaking stammer,
In a grating, halting manner like a voice I'd known before...
With my bloodshot eyes uplifting I espied a Raven, flitting,
From the changebox by the register to just above the door.
"Are you from Information?" quoth I. "Where within this nation
Might I find a gift for Lisa which she'll cherish and adore?"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"What's your problem?" I demanded. "Why, you should be reprimanded
For such crude and callous comment to a customer of yours.
Now, what is your suggestion? What's your answer to my question?
Surely hid within your stockroom you have merchandise galore."
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Then, with a heartfelt wailing I fell back against the railing,
And it broke, and sent me flailing to the shopping mall's first floor,
And the Raven followed, flying to the spot where I lay dying
And from my prone position lying there I questioned him once more:
"Did I have a chance?" I asked. "Was there meaning in my task?
Would I have in the future, basked next to her side on sunny shores?"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Then at once I felt this feeling as though some unknown healing
Power filled me, and I stood, and didn't even feel sore.
"Then why kill myself?" I wondered. "Though my very heart be sundered
I will waste no further time or money on this worthless chore.
Why expire in her pleasing if her attitude be freezing?
I will go and buy a wreath to hang above my bedroom door;
And my twisted mind that bade me to go shopping for this lady
Shall be twisted -- nevermore!"


Copyright 1988 Derek T. Jones