‘How Dare You, Santa! How Dare You!’ by Susan Jarvis Bryant The Society December 25, 2019 Culture, Holidays, Humor, Poetry 27 Comments Christmas has been canceled—it’s naughty Santa’s fault. His haughty carbon footprint has been a grave assault on melting polar ice caps; they’re now a muddy puddle, where sweaty elves and Rudolph are sizzling in a huddle. Adios St. Nicholas, your super-speedy sleigh should’ve been an eco-yacht; your flights have doomed the day! The fun-fueled pixie factory packed with sacks of toys is now a reindeer refuge—bah humbug, girls and boys! Gone are high-tech headsets, transformers, trains, and drones, Lego, Furbies, Barbies, Little Ponies, and iPhones, all chock-a-block with plastic, all apt to shock the nose of roving ocean turtles; such presents are their foes! Snuff your Yuletide candle! Sling your Noel stocking! Tear the tinsel from your tree! Stop the manger’s rocking! Toss the treetop fairy! Scrub the mistletoe! Stuff your puffing chimney! There’ll be no Ho Ho Ho! Extinguish roasting chestnuts! Dump puddings plump with figs! Quit crooning lilting carols! There’ll be no choral gigs! Free the fatted turkey! Cork the festive sherry! Bolt your door! Flick off your lights! Box up all your merry! So long to crass Kris Kringle, a climate refugee washed up in a downtown bar in Memphis Tennessee, minus scarlet garb and beard, now sporting something spartan, killing karaoke with strains of Dolly Parton! Susan Jarvis Bryant is a church secretary and poet whose homeland is Kent, England. She is now an American citizen living on the coastal plains of Texas. Susan has poetry published in the UK webzine, Lighten Up On Line, The Daily Mail, and Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets). Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) 27 Responses David Watt December 25, 2019 Thank you Susan for writing this hard-hitting satirical poem. I think that you have captured the hypocrisy of travelling in an environmentally friendly multi-million dollar yacht (well out of reach for most people), and highlighted a generally misguided meanness of spirit. Reply Julian D. Woodruff December 25, 2019 Fun and sly, as usual. Thanks and Merry Christmas, Susan Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant December 26, 2019 Thank you, Julian – “Fun and sky” – I like it!! Happy New Year! Susan Jarvis Bryant December 26, 2019 Oops, I meant ‘sly’ – predictive text sucks! What a great theme for a new poem! Susan Jarvis Bryant December 25, 2019 Thank you, David. A pinch of stark, in-your-face truth coupled with rhythm and wit works wonders… I hope! A very Merry Christmas to you! Reply David Watt December 26, 2019 Wishing you and everyone at the SCP a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Mike Bryant December 25, 2019 How dare WE have a Merry Christmas? But your lovely words have indeed made Christmas merrier! You continually impress and amaze. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant December 25, 2019 Thank you, biggest fan! Merry Christmas! Reply Joseph S. Salemi December 25, 2019 Top-notch work, Ms. Bryant! It’s satire with an edge to it, which is so much more effective than merely playful, light-hearted, fake satire. Just look at the face on that little retard Thunberg. All she needs is a smudge mustache to look like a female Fuhrer. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant December 25, 2019 Thank you, Mr. Salemi. Humor is a marvelous medium for pointing out the dastardly evils in our society. Perhaps, just perhaps, those who don’t bother with skewed mainstream news might see the truth in literary entertainment. After all, Charles Dickens did an awful lot to bring mass attention to the evils of society. I’m no Dickens, but one can but try! Here’s to a brighter and more enlightened new year! Reply Paul December 25, 2019 Well done, Susan! I would have offered a seasonal wish, but that no longer seems appropriate, since Santa’s now an outcast reprobate. Done and dusted’s the Yule, I fear…but here’s to you! Have a great New Year! Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant December 25, 2019 Thank you, Paul! Here’s wishing you a beautiful 2020! Reply Beverly December 25, 2019 A wonderful read! Love the humor! Happy Holidays! Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant December 26, 2019 Happy Holidays. Beverly! Thank you very much for reading and commenting. Reply Monty December 26, 2019 Well, how encouraging it is to see that Greta’s got America rattled. She knows who the real “retards” are on this planet; she knows that someone as real and as meaningful as herself will never appeal to superficial Americans; and she knows that it’ll be nigh-impossible to burst America’s bubble of convenience and laziness . . . but she’s gonna try! She knows, as does the rest of the world, that America’s seemingly-irretrievable insularity automatically means that it drastically needs educating more than any other modern country. She also knows how America normally reacts when someone threatens to burst its bubble; it simply gets the CIA to murder them . . . but still she’s gonna try! I’ve always enjoyed your poetry in the past, Susan; but obviously I didn’t enjoy this one. It’s so blinkered: so American. Even without the shameful theme of the poem, I detest the way you’ve defaced the poem with the ridiculously-excessive amount of exclamation-marks (similar to how Dickinson used to deface her poetry with those ugly strokes and dashes) . . but the theme is vulgar, especially the brazen words in the 3rd stanza which are more or less saying: “If the turtles have to die in order for us to continue getting the presents we desire . . then the turtles must die”. You need help. Watch out, America . . Greta’s comin’ for ya. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant December 26, 2019 How dare you, Monty! How dare you! LOL This is merely a humorous take on the ridiculous pre diction and arrogant condescension of an ill informed human tool of heinous propaganda – nothing more, nothing less. If you see it as “so blinkered so American” – you are so very wrong. I’m writing from a perspective that has absolutely nothing to do with America and everything to do with a political agenda that concerns the entire globe. I do, however, appreciate your opinion even if I disagree vehemently. Here’s an explosion of exclamation marks for good measure… Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Reply Mike Bryant December 26, 2019 Just for the record, Susan doesn’t own even ONE plastic straw. I know she loves animals, because I AM a sea turtle. I had to leave the ocean because a huge, “eco-friendly” yacht plowed through my habitat killing kith and kin. Susan took me in and nursed me back to health. Her poem is not satire. It is a true story with a happy ending. Reader, I married her… AFTER I began identifying as a human male. I am now post-op. The shrapnel from the bow of the plastic yacht has been removed from my nose. If you love turtles, you must love this poem and the caring woman behind the words. Reply Monty January 14, 2020 1/ I like your style, Mike: that was s highly imaginative and undeniably funny riposte. I can’t pretend it didn’t tickle me; and it also deflected me somewhat. ‘Twas only when I noticed your reference to the yacht that it occurred to me for the first time how America (Amec) must’ve reacted when it first saw the headline: ‘Greta To Cross Atlantic In Yacht’. For a nation which has allowed itself to’ve been misled by its government (as usual) into displaying contempt for Greta Thunberg (Greberg), that was the perfect headline to fuel their contempt; and to delude themselves that their contempt is somehow justified. But if one looks past the headline, there’s every chance that it wasn’t even Greberg’s idea to employ a yacht. Given that she’s now surrounded by leading global environmentalists, and given that they obviously felt it was imperative that she attended the conference (Amec more than anywhere), it was probably they who suggested the yacht. Also, I’m sure Amec would’ve instantly envisaged some large luxurious vessel (as intimated by your use of “huge yacht”); and I must confess that when I first saw the headline, I assumed that the yacht would afford some level of comfort. But . . not a bit of it! It was a yacht designed purely for racing at the highest level. Thus, it had no toilet; no shower; no cooking facilities (they used freeze-dried food); no beds (they threw some single mattresses in the hull for the journey, which they took turns to use); and it certainly wasn’t ‘huge’ (around 55ft, with 6-7 humans on board). In fact, it’s fair to say that it was probably the most primitive way that humans could cross the Atlantic in this age (apart from a kayak, maybe). Lest you think I was avidly following said voyage . . I can assure you, Mike, that – prior to your last comment – I didn’t know any details about the yacht. I saw a headline around a week before they sailed, announcing the voyage in a solar-powered yacht . . and never thought any more of it. ‘Twas only when I saw your above reference to a “huge yacht” that I got curious, and decided to google the craft (Malizia ll); and I was as surprised as anyone to learn of the sheer basicity of which it was comprised. I bid you a successful and contented post-op. 2/ Of course you have no reason to believe me, Susan, but I can assure you that I don’t lack an ounce of humour. But even if I did, it would still’ve been immediately obvious that your poem was a purely and intentionally humorous one; anyone could see that. It was also clever and innovative, although I wasn’t in the mood to say so in my last comment. Thus, my previous rant wasn’t because I failed to see the humour in your piece, far from it. In fact, the main thrust of my rant was directed at Amec, not you personally. And it wasn’t in any way specifically in defence of sea-turtles; that was just incidental owing to your reference to them (contrary to how the poor commenter below interpreted it; she thought it was a rant purely in defence of sea-turtles, even being moved to use the word ‘fanatic’! The whole thing flew hopelessly above her head). But I saw your poem as flagrantly and proudly flaunting Amec’s ignorance. And more than that, I was concerned about the dangerous message it could convey. (I should add at this juncture that I’ve got a habit of assuming all the images which accompany poems on these pages are the author’s own choice; that they submitted the image(s) with their poem(s) . . but I’m sometimes reminded that this isn’t always the case . . and that some images are chosen by Mr Mantyk. Thus, if the image accompanying your poem wasn’t chosen by yourself, then I’ll admit that I jumped the gun a bit, ‘coz that image – in the context of the poem – played a big part in my ire) My very first thought was . . what if some youngster reads this? They see an image: Greta v Santa, and then go on to read the poem, which implies to them (if they’re not old enough to grasp the humour) that it is indeed Greta v Santa: literally one or the other. Either start considering our impact on the planet and compromise on our lifestyles . . or to heck with the planet, let’s continue getting the gifts we desire at Christmas. And we both know which option a youngster would take! That’s why I consider it to be a potentially-damaging piece; and that’s why I feel you’ve used the wrong vehicle to get your ‘point’ across. Contrary to how I might come across in this thread, I’m by no means any kind of ‘environmentalist’. My ‘footprint’ is probably no smaller than anyone else’s reading this. I’ve never been one to take note of how my personal actions might affect the natural world; I was never aware of such things. On top of which, I’ve always been quite selfish when it comes to my determination to live my life as I please . . I’ve never compromised on that, and have never allowed anything to impinge upon my loose and varied existence. I’ve always been aware of the effect that humans are having on other creatures, the rainforests, etc; but I’ve long since taken the (maybe pessimistic) view that such iniquities are now irretrievable. Hence, I’ve washed my hands with it all: I just live my life without reading papers; without watching TV; without using any social-media (except emails), and I’ve thus been sufficiently content. I’m 56 now, so I’ve resolved to just live out the rest of my time, and try to keep all the shit out of my head . . but through being in Nepal in recent years, even one as careless and carefree as me has been unable to avoid the current global concerns. Nepal (where I’ve lived for 3-4 months every winter for the last 15 years; and indeed where I am now as I write this) has, since the 60’s, attracted thousands of western ‘travellers’ during each winter-season (for ‘travellers’, some might use the word ‘hippies’, although it’s not a word I’m fond of using); thousands of like-minded humans from across the globe converge on a certain region of the country each winter. A gathering of the clans, if you like. These include some of the most interesting, diverse and deliciously-eccentric humans one could hope to meet (for those three traits alone, Amec would probably dismiss them as freaks, or scum; but that’s alright, it’s to be expected: the people are aware of that). Many of these people DO consider themselves to be environmentalists; and those who don’t are still more concerned than the average western human about such things. And, given that I’ve been befriending and mixing with these people in recent years, I’ve been hearing and learning more and more not only about the REAL impact, the REAL threat to our planet . . but also about the small measures humans can take to try staving off such threats. For example, about 5 years ago, the westerners in Nepal started to alert the locals to the threat of plastic, and showed them how they can offset the use of such. The locals embraced it fully, to the extent that now, 5 years later, all bars/cafés, etc, use only bamboo straws. Also, instead of bottled-water, shops now have big water-tubs where customers take their empty bottles to be refilled. And in Goa (a state in neighbouring India which also attracts thousands of western travellers of the same ilk every winter; and where I spend a few weeks every year visiting chums), the same policies have been introduced and similarly adopted by the locals; and are now spreading to other parts of the country. I’ve been watching this happen with my own eyes, Susan; and after witnessing these efforts being made in recent years in Asia: what I once saw as an irretrievable global threat, I’m now starting to think that if we could all make similar efforts worldwide – collectively – then maybe there’s a beacon of hope that the threat might be retrievable. That’s why it disgusts me to hear constantly of Amec’s indifference. These comparatively poor, third-world countries are making an earnest effort to do their bit, while Amec continues with impunity to wallow in its convenience and obesity. Just in the last few days, folk here in Nepal are saying that the despicable, gormless oaf who’s supposedly running Amec (let’s call him Flump) has in recent days announced that the few climate-change policies which Amec has in place (the least amount of all modern countries; but a few, none the less) are to be rescinded! I can tell you that people here were stunned to hear that, Susan; and I dearly wish, for Amec’s own good, that its people could be made aware of how Amec is viewed by the rest of the world. It’s the biggest paradox of our age: that the country which sees itself as the most advanced on the planet . . is the same country which is seen by others as the most backward. Finally, a word on Greberg. Since she’s been speaking publicly, she’s never said anything which hasn’t already been said by others before her; she’s simply been relaying the same findings that scientists have been warning us about for the last cuppla decades. But there’s one gigantic difference: When we’ve heard others before her saying the same things, we may – with good reason – have wondered whether some of those speakers really meant what they were saying, or whether they had an ulterior motive. Many world or national leaders have been saying all the right things, just to sound good and win votes . . and then doing nothing. Also, many countries have a Green Party (or the equivalent of), and as with any Party, there’s inherent in-fighting amongst self-serving individuals with ambitions of attaining the Party Leadership. Hence, when we hear them speak, we suspect they may just be towing the Party line. That’s the age-old worthlessness of politics. But Greberg has NO such self-serving interests; she has NO such voters to woo; she has NO one to impress. Everything she says and does is purely off her own steam; and is so patently heartfelt. If Amec cared to Wiki her, it’d see quite clearly that this is her own thing: and hers only. When she first began her actions, her own parents strongly disapproved; and her school-authorities threatened her with expulsion. She persevered. Think about it, Susan: at 15 years-old, who else COULD she have been doing it for but herself, and her own feelings. THAT is why she’s attained such recognition in such a short space of time; because she is simply BELIEVABLE. When she speaks, no one is left wondering whether she has an ulterior motive. That’s why she’s different; that’s why she’ll make a difference! And that’s why Amec’s concerned: ‘coz Greberg represents something of which Amec has no concept . . a thoroughly believable public-speaker. Amec’s worried that she’ll garner enough world support to force Amec to change its ways. That’s why Amec is quick to dismiss her; that’s why Amec loathes her; that’s why Flump speaks ill of her; and, unsurprisingly, that’s why Amec was quick to jump on the ‘luxury yacht’ bandwagon. Of course the global climate-change movement has latched on to her: who wouldn’t? Of course they’ve welcomed her with open arms. To those who truly believe in the task they’re fighting, she must’ve been a dream, a breath of fresh air. Someone believable, and someone to appeal to the young of the world. The young may be the most important target regarding the future. That’s why I said above that “Greberg’s got Amec rattled”. It weren’t just a figure of speech . . she has! If she didn’t already know, I’m sure she’s been told by now that the population of Amec in their 30’s and above are, in general, too far gone in their insularity; their wall of convenience may well be impenetrable. But there’s a chance she might be able reach the young of Amec. And if she can, the young may start to pressure their elders into changing their ways. That’s why the elders are rattled. Only the young can save Amec. In which case, how perceptive it was of Mr Wilde to have, more than a century ago, uttered the words: “In America, the young are always ready to give to those older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience”. ‘This Be The Verse’ is a fairly well-known poem by Philip Larkin, and it has as its first stanza: They fuck you up, your mum and dad; They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had, And add some extra just for you. Thus, even Amec’s young might be hard for Greberg to reach; but that won’t deter her. She seems to me to be unstoppable in her singular determination. It may be the case that, strictly speaking, she doesn’t even need a team or movement around her; all she needs is a good P.A. and a competent travel-organiser . . her self-determination will do the rest. That’s why your description of her as an “ill-informed human tool of heinous propaganda” – is so misguided, and so wrong on every count. a/ She can’t possibly be “ill-informed”, ‘coz she ain’t been informed by anyone else – she’s informed herself since she was 8 years-old. b/ She can’t be a “human tool”, ‘coz she ain’t being used by anyone. Yeah, she’s now surrounded by people from a global-movement, but they’re not using her. If anything, SHE’S using THEM to express her own feelings to a wider audience. c/ And as for the “heinous propaganda” bit; well, everything I’ve said in this rant (and the previous one above) has been directed not towards you personally, but towards Amec. But if you’re personally referring to the whole climate thing as being “heinous propaganda”, then I don’t mind telling you personally that you’re simply out of reach. p.s. I re-read your poem again before writing this, and I can’t help but admire it; it’s really catchy. I just don’t like what it represents. I hope you can see that now; and you don’t hold it against me. Mike Bryant January 14, 2020 Monty, I am utterly impressed and flabbergasted by your absolutely hilarious observational humour. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! My feeble attempt at humour must now rest shamefully next to your masterpiece of parody. I am absolutely shattered by laughter. Thank you so much for pillorying all the America-haters around the world who you have so cleverly caricatured. You have turned bigotry into comedy gold. Thanks again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=16&v=br9dRlsrLQI&feature=emb_logo How would you like to see that plastic boat heading for YOUR nose? A straw might be preferable… Monty January 14, 2020 No bigotry involved, Mike; I was only generalising. I’ve got a cuppla good yanky chums where I live in the South of France; and I’ve befriended hundreds more in various parts of Asia in the last 30 years . . and they share the same view of America as non-Americans. That’s why they live in other parts of the world these days. Incidentally, I’m currently in a band in Nepal (I hit things with sticks); and our trumpet-player, Gus, is a native of Nebraska. But he’s been dossing around Asia for the last 20 years; and he assures me that he only goes back to America for funerals and weddings. Mike Bryant January 14, 2020 Wow! You amaze me, Monty. You’ve completely changed tack and are now acting like a doddering, self-loathing ex-pat who hates his own country and has surrounded himself with others who hate THEIR own countries! BUT, of course, you DO play the drums, so you are undoubtedly cool! Don’t think I’m not impressed! You are killing me with laughter. Please, please stop! The images you conjure up are genius – a Keith Richards wannabe alongside an embittered Nebraskan thrilling the hordes in Nepal! You ARE a poet AND a philosopher of no small talent! I have a feeling YOU will be hosting the Golden Globes in place of Ricky Gervais next year. That will show all the idiots just how thoroughly woke you are. I hope I haven’t used too many exclamation marks for your liking, Monty. Susan January 14, 2020 Monty, to answer your concern – NO, I don’t hold anything against you. Unlike my brash, American husband, my English upbringing ensures I NEVER mock the afflicted. Joseph S. Salemi January 15, 2020 Monty doesn’t even realize that Mike Bryant was making fun of his amorphous 17-paragraph ramble! Talk about cluelessness. Mark F. Stone December 29, 2019 Susan, This is very well crafted. I particularly like the last stanza and the spartan/Parton rhyme. Merry Christmas! Mark Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant December 30, 2019 Thank you very much for taking the time to read and comment, Mark. A very happy new year to you! Reply Sally Cook December 31, 2019 I knew the minute I read your. poem that your feelings for sea turtles were above reproach. The truth is, I also married a self-identifying human male sea turtle. No doubt there are a plethora of others – perhaps our husbands can create a movement to confound those less imaginative and more fanatic sorts who think they have all the answers but fail to recognize humor when they stumble over it by the seaside. Thanks for a great poem, and my belated wishes for Christmas .and all the year through. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant January 1, 2020 Thank you so much for my huge 2020 grin, Sally. It’s heartening to hear there are others out there with husbands just like mine! The idea of a movement to restore a sense of humour to those who aren’t blessed with this marvellous trait is a stroke of genius. Here’s to a year full of wit and wonder! Keep writing and smiling, Sally Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.