Update: I’m happy to announce that the following poem was published by The Brussels Times on December 22, 2020. Click here to view: https://www.brusselstimes.com/opinion/145641/how-2020-stole-christmas/
2020 has been a difficult year, to say the least. As my children and I unearthed the Christmas decorations from the basement and started to re-read all our favorite holiday stories, I found an alarming similarity between a familiar prose. . . and 2020’s “festivities”. With a sarcastic, but yet enlightened heart, I wrote the following poem. Thank you, Dr. Suess, for your beautiful poem, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Who knew your message could be adapted and ring clear 63 years later. . .
Liked Christmas a lot. . .
Who watched over Belgium,
2020 hated Christmas! All holiday seasons!
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
The year took our colleagues, families, and friends,
we questioned the heavens – please! When will this end?
Why must we smile behind city-issued masks?
We wanted our summer bars! Was that too much to ask?
But I think the thing that bothers us most of all,
Is that we are all tired of staring at our Belgian home’s walls!
But, how? Oh how?
How did we cope?
Did we cry? Did we scream? Or give up all hope?
With restrictions relaxed, we went to the coast
The summer was saved! And we laid down to roast. . .
In the warmth of the sun, our bodies were tanned,
Until Blankenberge brawl. Then daytrippers were banned.
But the schools opened, and parents cried with relief
The school year had started, but we wondered how brief. . .
We gathered with friends during autumn events.
It was only a tease! Second lockdown was imminent.
Yet it does not matter, and whatever the reason,
2020 kept marching, trying to ruin our seasons. . .
Alle mensen stood together, with masks on our faces.
2020 loomed over Christmas, not hearing our cases.
Staring down from above, the year was unmoved by our pleas
For it knew it had power over all lands and all seas. . .
But we’d outsmarted that devil – through ZOOM calls and masks
We’d locked down again and completed our tasks.
Alle mensen bought take-out and gifts for Christmas on bol
Our contacts were grocery clerks and parents at school.
2020 struggled to keep up, in its frustrated state,
Alle mensen were still going, despite the world’s fate. . .
Perhaps the year stopped, amid stars to look down,
perched atop the cathedral, gazing across Belgian towns
It saw sparkling lights and heard happy sounds!
2020 pinched its face into a COVID-frown.
“They gather in the Grand-Place to gaze at the tree
Don’t they know that there’s no Light Show to see?!
There’s no ice skating! No gluhwein! All Markets are canceled!
But yet they’re wrapping their gifts – as if it’s all handled!
They wipe down their baskets and then off they go,
I must stop this now! There’s no more ‘on with the show. . .
. . . I’ve shelled out home-school and stay-at-home-orders
I’ve shut down the zoos, bars, restaurants, and borders!
Surely, after all, I can stop Christmas from coming,
After all I have done, depression is numbing!”
Yet, on the eve of the sad Christmas season,
Despite all the distance and awkward zoom greetings,
2020 did pause, waiting a minute or so. . .
But the year did not hear, tearful sounds from below
The year did hear a sound, buzzing over the ZOOM
The twinkle of laughter dancing through living rooms
The sound wasn’t sad!
Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn’t be so!
But it WAS merry! VERY!
And 2020, with its tight grip on control
Stood thinking and thinking, “How could it be so?”
“It came without restaurants! It came without hugs!
“It came without gatherings or touching loved ones!”
And 2020 thought a lifetime till his thinker was sore.
Then 2020 thought of something it hadn’t before.
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a place,”
“Maybe Christmas. . . perhaps. . . is more than a space.”
And what happened then?
Well. . . in 2020 they say,
the year surrendered
And stopped fighting that day.
And all saw the world a little different that night
Let go of their fears, and knew what was right. . .
2020 embraced a new kind of love
Much like the one that is sent from above,
With surprise the year learned that love has no bounds,
And its cold tiny heart then started to pound,
No longer tied down, the year started to fly
Alle mensen then smiled, and kissed 2020 goodbye.