'Twas the Night Before Finals (By Margarita Huerta, Ph.D., P.O.W.E.R. Consultant)


‘Twas the Night Before Finals

By: Margarita (Maggie) Huerta, Ph.D., P.O.W.E.R. Consultant*

Note: This is a parody of the traditional Christmas poem, “‘A Visit from St. Nicholas” (also known as "'Twas the Night Before Christmas") by Clement Clarke Moore, which you can read here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171924


‘Twas the night before Finals, and papers were due

Not a student was idle, yet none had a clue;

They piled their articles on lab desks with care,

In hopes that some writing’d  emerge from their stares.

The P.O.W.E.R. consultants all nestled in bed,

Saw visions of tenure-track dance in their heads,

As Goodson with scarf, and I in my hat,

Had just settled our brains for a nice little chat-

When out of the hall there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.

Away to the doorway I flew like a flash,

Pushed open the door, and knocked over the trash.

The hallway lights shone on the floor like new snow,

Giving luster of mid-day to the tiles below;

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a student with eight writing tips to declare.

With an enlightened look, so very lively and kind,

I knew in a moment he’d been in a bind.

More rapid than eagles the writing tips he proclaimed,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

“Now, Planning! Now, Pacing! Now, Generating and Editing!

On, Acceptance! On, Resources! On, Feedback and Support!

To the students in need! to the end of the hall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As A&M students to stadiums fly,

When football season begins new, and tickets buy;

So did the writing tips float down the hallway

With glimmers of hope, and the enlightened student, too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard down the hall

The ooh-ing and ah-ing from each little desk,

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

To each desk the student went with a bound:

He was dressed in cotton, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all covered with copier stain soot;

A bundle of writing tip copies flung in his sack,

He looked a newspaper boy, throwing paper stacks.

Hi eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry,

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And you heard the writing tips as he spoke:

“Planning, you see, is what helps manage the self.

Schedule your writing time and guard it like health.

Pacing would have prevented our current despair! 

If we’d written each day, we’d be out of our chairs.

Separate Generating from Editing soon!

It is the only way to get rid of blank stares.

Accept messy drafts; afterwards craft them with care.

Get Feedback and Support – It is how we grow.”

He spoke all these words, as if part of his work,

And talked to the students; then turned with a jerk.

And laying his finger on copies he held

And giving a nod, down the hallway he rushed.

He sprang to the next room, more students to counsel.

So he went out of sight, like a cat in the night.

But I heard him exclaim, with all of his might:

“Happy writing to all, and to all a good-night!”


* The author would like to acknowledge and thank Jennifer Travis and Tiberio Garza for encouraging her in putting the idea to paper and Dr. Patricia Goodson for her off-the-record support, editing, and suggestions (including word choice and poetic rhythm) on this fun project!