‘Twas the Night Before Weihnachten

Two Russian singers with accordians

24 December 2019

‘Twas the night before Weihnachten

And all through the city

The shops were all decorated

And lookin’ real pretty.

‘Twas the Night Before Weihnachten read by the author Brenda Arnold

I hopped on the train

And rode into town

To pick up some presents

And just hang around.

The voice said “Marienplatz”

The doors opened wide

I hopped onto the platform

With a purposeful stride.

Then a man pushed past me

Hey, what’s the big deal?

Show some Christmas spirit

In front of the Glockenspiel.

I gathered my courage

And went up the stairs

Where the huge Christmas market

Was presenting its wares.

The pedestrian zone

Was so noisy and packed

I took a deep breath

Lest I overreact.

 ‘Twas alive, full of people,

Red-cheeked and a-bustle

Cheerier than the usual

Everyday urban hustle.

After my shopping

I settled down at a stand

With a packet of sweets

And my bags in one hand.

And from my small table

My eyes started to roam

Surveying the place

That I now call home.

From the wine I was drinking,

Which was delightfully mulled

I have to admit

To being somewhat lulled.

For then something came

That I should’ve foreseen

Encouraged by locals

Part of the Christmas scene.

A noise from behind me

Rose up to the sky

Its source soon became clear

As its creators drew nigh.

Christkindlmarkt tourists

A dozen – no, more!

They walked in a group

Far too loud to ignore.

Italians and Spaniards

Americans and Asians

Folks from next door

And from faraway nations.

They traveled in pairs

In families, in groups

Fluttering and squawking

Like chickens in coops.

They bought Christmas ornaments

They crunched sugary nuts

They slurped the mulled wine

And ate chocolate donuts.

I held my mug tight

As they swarmed all around

There was nowhere to stand

No space to be found.

“Aren’t these cute?”

Said a woman

“And pricey,” said he

“But won’t they look great

On our big Christmas tree?”

He took out his wallet

And shelled out some money

“If it makes you happy,” he sighed

“Here you go, honey!”

The Italians were talking

And gesturing loud

It’s not hard to identify

Them in a crowd.

The Asians took selfies

And spared no gyrations

In threesomes and foursomes

In all combinations.

I stood in the corner

Still clutching my mug

Feeling slightly superior

And a little bit smug.

But as I watched them

The throngs of tourists o’r yonder

I grew a mite pensive

And started to ponder.

Their friends back at home

Would get photos galore

Of the trinkets, the buildings

The magnificent stores.

But would they remember

The things they had seen?

Was it Munich, Neuschwanstein

Or a town in between?

The sun had now set

The market lights all lit up

As the mob grew yet larger

I’d now had enough.

I pushed through the people

To the uppermost stair

To the mouth of the station

At the side of the square.

As I turned ‘round the corner

To escape the big crowd

I suddenly heard music

Grow increasingly loud.

It was Ivan and Vladimir

A baritone and a bass

White Russians in uniform

I came to the right place.

This was more like Christmas

It was music and joy

A language universal

To every girl and boy.

They sang loud and clear

Their voices rang true

But what did they sing?

I cannot tell you.

For they sang only Russian

In old Soviet uniforms

Complete with brimmed hats

For non-existent snowstorms.

Smartphones in the air

People soaked up their melody

Such a beautiful duo

It was quite nearly heavenly.

The multitude swelled

Pressing in ever closer

I decided to leave

Lest I lose my composure.

I adjusted my backpack

That was enough Christmas stuff

I just wanted to go home

And relax on my duff.

Full of good Christmas thoughts

All pumped up with good cheer

I wished: Frohe Weihnachten to all

And a Happy New Year!

Brenda Arnold

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