The Night before Virtual Christmas by Flora Jardine

‘Twas the night before Christmas,
in each bedroom and hall
the seniors were stirring, insomniacs all,
support hose was hung by the chimneys with care,
it helps folk a lot as they walk here and there
The grandkids were somewhere else, thank heaven,
dreaming (or streaming) from midnight ’til seven

Then out on the lawn I heard such a clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter
What to my short-sighted eyes should appear
but a miniature E-sleigh with battery-gear
The mechanical driver was shiny and slick,
I knew it too robotic to be St. Nick

More rapid than email with cursors it came
it called those who pulled the sleigh by name:
“Now Flasher, now Hacker,
now Zoom and Delete!
On, Android and Google!
On, Podcast and Tweet!
On to the porch and the top of the wall,
now flash away, blink away, bleep away all!”

So up to the rooftop the cursors they flew
with an E-sleigh of gadgets and the Robot too,
then as from the window I dizzily turned
it slid down the chimney, I quickly learned,
as a blinking metallic apparition —
and I blinked back, full of suspicion

A bundle of toys it began to unpack
like an Amazon delivery man with a sack
It filled the stockings that hung by the fire
and piled chocolate treats beyond all desire

Its lights how they twinkled, its buzzers were buzzy,
I think it spoke, but my memory’s fuzzy
Then laying a finger on its A.I. nose
giving one more blink, up the chimney it rose

It sprang to the E-sleigh and quickly rebooted,
while a lively Help Function digitally hooted
as they flew to the stars and out of sight:
Merry Christmas to All and To All a Goodnight!

Flora Jardine writes plays, fiction and satire from the west coast of Canada.