The Extra Guest

Odin by Georg von Rosen

The Extra Guest

I don’t remember being told
About old Father Christmas –
He’s just someone I’ve always known.
Popping down the chimney
That we didn’t even have,
With a candy cane or xylophone.
It somehow seemed so rational,
To fly from Perth to Honolulu,
Via Cape Town and Cologne –
But strangest yet, I never even
Thought of how he was a stranger,
All the year alone.

So when my parents placed
An empty chair upto the turkey,
I assumed it was for him.
And when a neighbour came instead,
Or refugee, or homeless man –
I didn’t find it grim.
As long as he possessed a beard,
I believed in Father Christmas –
Even with a pseudonym.
He wore a diff’rent face, each year –
But so did Mother Goose,
And Peter Pan, and Tiny Tim.

For all the gifts he gave,
Did he ever get one in return,
From Moscow to the Amazon ?
Each year, I’d long to thank him,
But the meal would soon be over
And my moment never seized upon.
Yet in my mind, he’d wink, and say,
“Don’t worry, I already know.”
And then he would be gone.
We never get to give a gift to him,
But ev’ry year,
Instead we pay it forward, pass it on.

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