the night of the night of the meek

We’d stumbled upon it, playing on a channel heretofore unknown to us,

Almost as if the remote, in a final, desperate attempt

To escape the CGI-augmented Britneys and Biebers,

Had taken matters into its own hands and steered us there

(Indeed, when we tried to find that channel later,

It had gone a-gleaming, replaced by some lower-case Telemundo)

Presenting no outsized and over-decibeled spectacle

But a stark, quiet, indeed all but silent black-and-white panorama

Where a distinctly un-scrubbed and un-homogenized Santa

Delivers no new cars, no cartoon-mouse vacation cavalcade,

No million dollar prize from some scripted faux-survival experience,

But those things from the realm of the smaller, the subtle:

A sweater, a meal, a bottle for those not overwhelmed by the contents,

All courtesy of a purveyor of gifts seeking nothing more

Than to provide some measure of comfort and joy

For those who were well short on either.

It all tends toward the romantic and maudlin a bit, one could contend

(And, indeed, did not the teleplay’s progenitor

Insist on spending his eternity on a lonely hilltop,

In order that he could have an unobstructed view of the cold, narrow lake

For which he’d formed such an improbable and irrational fondness?)

And those who take such a position may very well be right,

But it is equally likely that we could be better men in a better place

If the notion that we could rise above our dented-fender and tin-can tribulations

To embrace that within ourselves which is child-like and yet saintly

Was submitted for our consideration on more than an annual basis.

 

 
(AUTHOR’S NOTE: The poem’s title–and much else about it, to be frank–owes a debt to the December 23, 1960 episode of The Twilight Zone, entitled “The Night of the Meek.”

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16 thoughts on “the night of the night of the meek

  1. But it is equally likely that we could be better men in a better place

    If the notion that we could rise above our tin-can and yowling-tabby tribulations

    And embrace that within ourselves which is child-like and yet saintly

    Was submitted for our consideration on more than an annual basis…

    This is the bomb – right here! Excellent thoughts for a time which glorifies greed and gluttony. I wish I could have expressed these thoughts so succinctly and so well.

  2. Hello W.K., Sorry for the delay in catching back up with your fine work. “Tis now past the Season, and yet I hope it finds you safe, warm and relatively comfortable. I am still stumbling through the debris here, hoping to catch a “glimpse of that cold, narrow lake” beyond the discarded wrapping paper and shredded cardboard boxes. Happy New Year, my friend!
    Bill

  3. Great riff on the teleplay, effecting surely what the show’s producers were hoping for — pause to consider what life could always be like in a land of eternal (OK, daily) charity. I liked the aside about the show’s creator and what love might have to do with a cold lake. Cleanly and deftly carved.

  4. I love it. And I thought I’d come across all the Twilight Zone episodes, watching various marathons over the years, but I don’t remember this one. Among many other of your turns of phrase I like ‘a bottle for those not overwhelmed by its contents.’ On more than an annual basis would be a great achievement. There’s always hope. Great piece.

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