Twas the Fight Before Christmas

I collaborated with my dad - who happens to be a prolific poetry writer - to bring tribute to my many great colleagues at Arbour. We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we did writing it.


'Twas the fight before Christmas, and all through the house All my brats, they were wailing, and ditto the spouse; I'd let it all out, with a curse and a roar, Then thrown on a jacket and slammed the damn door. Their clothes were all scattered, their toys, and their mess, Their books and X-Boxes, and crap I confess. I hadn't a clue for the names of the stuff, Just wall-to-wall strewage -- I'd had it! Enough! They thought it my role to earn them their keep, To come home exhausted, just needing some sleep; But now I was home, it was one long complaint, Of wrongs that I’d done them – well a saint I ain’t! I’d picked up their Lego and sorted their socks, My Solomon wisdom had paid back the knocks My kids had inflicted while I’d been away, Out there in the workplace while they’d been at play. All the sniffles and tears and teacup-size strife Made me think, "You deal with it, my capable wife!" All the whines and the bickers and cries of "Me First!" Oh man, was I working up one raging thirst. Yes, the mess and the clamour, tonight of all nights They tipped me right over... the edge -- hence the fight And the yelling and cursing and blaming and rage That came boiling from me -- yeah, me, the wise sage. I trudged to the tavern and yup, you can guess, I barged to the bar -- to the front, I confess; But ‘ere it went down, that swillage I bought, It hit me, like lightning, that thought that I thought:

What were those words of my honey-tongued counsellor

Down at the ol’ Arbour Counselling Centre?

That wisdom, so sage, of that guru, that shrink,

Once we’d got past the drivel, small-talk, and red ink.

What was it she said, that insightful old minx?

Why can’t I remember, my memory stinks!

But then in a flash, the nick of time, methinks,

I plunked down my cash and abandoned my drinks.


I remembered her words, clear in my noggin,

‘Cause they weren’t the usual counselling jargon.

No, those words of hers were a breath of fresh air;

I ran back to my family, showed ‘em I care!

It may be my heart grew three sizes that day,

Or it may be those words I can still hear her say.

I knew just what to do, and it worked like a charm,

‘Twas a good thing, too: this was no false alarm!

With a smooch for my wife, a time-out for my kids,

I knew I’d prevented things hitting the skids.

I knew all in a flash, I'd come to myself, I'm jolly! I'm lucky! A born-again elf!

That session, though painful, made me glad for my life: Without them I'm zero, these kids and this wife; It brought me straight home, with a heart full of grace…

And it’s Arbour I thank, in advance, just in case.

So I sprang to my feet, to my kids gave a whistle,

And to bed they all flew like the down of a thistle.

And to all I exclaimed, having settled the fight,

HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ARBOUR, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!

David and Richard Routledge

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