‘Twas very early Christmas Eve and
Little Steve was in his shop
Sitting next to his barrel stove with a coffee cup on top:
He hadn’t very much to do, nothing that could not wait,
Still ‘twas very early Christmas Eve, an’ Little Steve
wished it late.
The wood fire crackled, all aflame, the flue red as rose,
Heating up his buffalo plaid but leaving cold his toes
Just like every other Christmas Eve he’d spent there all
With no one else in the shop and not a soul at home.
You see, Little Steve was a carpenter, a craftsman worked in
Who, by every estimation, was so much better than good:
He made the tables and the chairs, cupboards for the dishes,
And from the scraps, candlesticks, to light those nighttime
On each wall around his shop, the candlesticks there stood,
Perhaps a thousand, maybe more, in every kind of wood
Like needles on a Christmas tree but each upon its shelf,
All the work of Santa’s helper—Little Steve, the elf.
Except Little Steve wasn’t small and an elf he was neither,
And, as for Christmas, if you asked, he didn’t like it
He didn’t have a spouse, nor kids, nor dog, nor cat,
So, every year on Christmas Eve, in his shop he sat
Hunkered down by the stove, ignoring what he could,
Doing the very least of all and nothing that he should;
Except, on this night, a little knock, harkened to his door
And when he said, “Please come in,” in came Benji Zorr.
Now, Benji was a half-pint kid, but his reputation did
As being rather hard of heart with mischief as his creed;
Yet, he was just the kind of guy Little Steve thought he saw
Because unknown to anyone else, he’d been just like that too
When one old sock, with holey toe, laying empty on the
Was what he got every Christmas, that and nothing more;
Not even a single lump of coal, nor word of Christmas cheer,
Just empty socks with big ol’ holes, year after year after
Because Little Steve had been a miscreant, exactly like
And his every sin was revisited when he opened up that door:
“Merry Christmas! Come on in. What brings you out tonight?”
Said Little Steve, feigning the season, trying to get it
Lithe of step with purposed hand, Benji promptly closed the
And pointed to the candlesticks with eyes cast to the floor:
“Could you give me just one or two to add some Christmas
For nothing else do I have this giving time of year.”
And Little Steve, that Christmas Eve, knew exactly what to
Quickly getting down for Benji, twenty-eight plus two:
In fact, an armload, overflowing, in all assorted sizes
Before ushering out the little tyke with his crafted prizes.
Back in his chair, by the stove, Little Steve felt warm of
Pleased to have given of himself and doing one small part;
And he began to see how socks could be darned now at last
By tossing away the days of nay from fifty Christmas’ past
When came a crashing upon his roof, he first mistook for
Hitched at length to a big red sleigh due this time of year:
But in his heart, he knew better: ‘twas candlesticks he’d
Raining down upon the roof of Little Steve, the elf!
To his feet he jumped with rage, what a fool he had been,
But before the door he stopped once more and began to think
Of all the years, past and present, and what was Christmas
Except to help all mankind—even Benji Zorr.
Thus Little Steve, that Christmas Eve, changed forevermore
And to this day, still gives away, candlesticks galore:
Turned by lathe, turned by hand, turned by Benji Zorr
Under the Merry-Christmas! eye of Little Steve, the elf!
James N. Zitzelsberger