by MHPayne'Tis the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse.
For the mice have their stirring all done and their baking:
Their eggs are all nogging, their fruits are all caking.
It's only tonight they're allowed to relax,
To abandon their skulking and straighten their backs.
Unencumbered by everyday gnawing and squeaks,
They can polish the silver, display the antiques,
Take a brush to tuxedos, untangle the pearls—
Also ascots for boys, silken scarves for the girls.
Then the parents and children process regally
To Cotillion, rodentia's annual spree.
How the chandeliers sparkle, the ballroom aglow
As the mice in the orchestra play sweet and low.
Oh, the dancing! The etiquette! Perfect! Refined!
And there's melon in slices instead of just rind!
Until ten or ten-thirty, they'll waltz and gavotte,
But the evening is fleeting, so homeward they trot.
In more intimate settings, the families will gather
To share in the feasts and the coziest blather
Of uncles and cousins and in-laws—but then
At the chiming of midnight, they're silent again.
With a scurry, they pack all the trappings away
So the world appears normal by dawn the next day.
It sustains them, this night when they get to act nice
For the rest of the year when they have to be mice.