‘Twas the night before Smithmas, when all o’r the plain,

Not an apostate was tweeting, even to complain;

The Dutch ovens were placed by the back door with care,

In hopes that ‘ol Porter soon would be there;

Illustration by Graham Bradley

The DezNats were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of Bowie knives danced in their heads;

And Eliza in her bathrobe, and I in my G’s,

Had just settled down comfy as you please,

When out on the lawn we heard some gunshots,

I sprang from the bed afraid it was cops.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon shone through in this Deseret winter,

And helped us see clear from the hedge to the hinter,

When, what to my stupefied eyes should I see,

But a giant ox cart and two stately beasts,

With a grizzled old driver, so lively and swell,

I knew in a glance it’s Porter Rockwell.

More rapid than seagulls his oxen they flurried,

And he whistled, and shouted, and urged them to hurry;

“Come on your two slugs we don’t have all night!

We have presents to give and apostates to fight!

To the top of the tabernacle! to the top of the wall!

We’re on to Missouri so dash away all!”

So out to the back porch the oxen they lumbered,

With the cart full of gifts and Porter encumbered.

And then, in a groan of wood on the deck,

The stamping of ox hooves sparking like h*ck;

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,

Through the back window Porter came with a bound.

He was dressed all in buckskin, from his wrist to his foot,

And his jacket was tarnished with bloodstains and soot;

A bright shiny rifle had slung on his back,

And he looked like a workman unloading his pack.

His eyes – how they smoldered! His hair length – how scary!

His fists were like boulders, his nose like a cherry!

His rough-hewn mouth was fixed in a growl,

And the beard on his chin covered his face like a cowl;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Let me know only Boggs should feel dread;

While dispersing his gifts he whistled a song,

It was “Praise to the Man”; and I hummed along;

And laying hand on the butt of his knife,

He gave a small nod to me and my wife;

He sprang to his cart, to his team gave a snap,

And away they all flew in a thunderous clap.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,


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