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Poetry Corner: T’was The Night Before The World Ended

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A headshot of Poet Laureate James Rodgers
James Rodgers | photo from James Rodgers

Hello Poetry Lovers!  We’ve made it to December, and the end of 2021.  While it hasn’t been an easy year, and I’ve written far, far less than normal, words do show up once in a while, so I keep the pen and paper close by.  I recently took a poetry class from Oxford University, just to get a different perspective from all the local classes I’ve taken over the years.  There were fellow students from all over the planet, so it was good to see poetry from their point of view.

As we make it to the end of the year, let’s remember that we are all in this crazy pandemic together, so we should do our best to take care of each other.  This is an older poem, written during the time we thought the Mayans may have been correct in their prediction of the world ending.  Here’s to them still being wrong, no matter what it feels like right now.  Have a great holiday season everyone!!

T’was The Night Before The World Ends
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James Rodgers

Twas the night before the world ends, our existence was cursed
As the Mayans had predicted for December 21st.
The bomb shelter was packed with clothes, guns and food,

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enough for me and my wife and our very scared brood.

The children were restless and shaking with fear,
because the media keeps blaring, “The End is Near!”
And mamma with her shotgun, and I with my knives,

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were prepared for the possible last night of our lives.

When outside the lead door there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the cot to see what was the matter.
Since there were no windows I opened the door,
there stood all my relatives, ten people or more.

The moon in the sky was beaming full light
it was hard to believe this could be our last night.
And though I knew it meant the food wouldn’t last,
I let my relatives in and shut the door fast.

We couldn’t believe this could be our last Christmas,
and my daughter bemoaned what a sad bummer this was.
She wouldn’t get any more gifts, presents or toys,
There would be no more dates.  There would be no more boys!

There would be no more pop bands, and no more TV!
All of this sounded like blessings to Momma and me
But she seemed inconsolable, it really upset her
Until we gave her new boots and a cute fuzzy sweater

My son’s face turned red and loudly he cried,
We’re all in here safe, but poor Fluffy’s outside.
If it’s the last night on Earth, he should be in here too,
I didn’t want to go out, but what else could I do?

I told my boy, when all this is up
If we all survive, I’ll buy you a new pup.
But he wanted Fluffy and again he did cry,
Momma said I must go, and I let out a sigh.

The last night on earth, and I was risking my life
but this was safer than in there with an unhappy wife
I searched in the house, I searched around back,
I went into the kitchen and made myself a snack.

And just like that, the dog appeared and started to beg
I gave him a bit and he sat down near my leg
We walked back to the shelter, I banged on the door
They let the dog and me in, and had let in four more.

We turned on the radio, we listened for news
all we heard was a man singing “The End of World Blues”.
We all sang along, not really knowing the tune,
Wishing we could go out ‘neath the sun or the moon

The shelter felt crowded, it was wide but not deep,
There was little place to stand, there was no place to sleep.
But we all decided we would all try to nap
Until awakened by a sound at the door, a light tap.

I opened the door, what else could I do,
My brother smiled and said “We survived! It’s 12/22!”
There was no armageddon, the world is still here,
I let out a sigh and then opened a beer

We danced on the lawns, we danced in the street,
the sun shining above had never felt so sweet.
We shouted “Hooray!” We broke into song,
“Happy Holidays to all, the Mayans were wrong!”

(If there’s an armageddon tonight I’m going to be very upset about this false hope, James. I’ll be dead, but also very upset with you. -EM)

Update: 12/22/21: Good news, we’re still here. Bad news, you still have to see those in-laws you were hoping to avoid.

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