‘The Monster and the Manger’ by Guest Author Peter J. Stahl

~ dedicated to James Whale, Boris Karloff and Jack Pierce


It was a dreary silent night

I beheld the accomplishment of her labor.

All manner of people gathered round

To view this child they called savior.

“There is no place for monsters here”

My father sharply admonished

And it was with those few words

I once again was banished.


Staggering through the village

Unchained, but not free

I searched for some sanctuary

To resolve this tricky riddle of me.

All these longings stirred within.

Where was it I could find

Some sense of belonging

Some others of my kind?


Meanwhile with their torches

The villagers guarded Christmas well

Forging customs and traditions to

Link stories they tell and tell

Creating in their own images

Distant idyllic scenes

Trimming Christmas down to what

They want it to mean.


Finally I cried back to them

“Who is monster here?

You claim this child’s the world’s redeemer

But you won’t let me near!

How many have you turned away

With your zeal to keep Christmas true

When everything you’ve done for Christmas

Has been all for you?”


“Who is there?” the calm voice called

Against my ragged arrival.

He cleaned my wounds. fed me bread and wine,

And let me sleep there for a while.

He never seemed to mind me

Until villagers came through the door

With guns and accusations

And a monster I am once more.


They hurried him away protesting

And left me for the flames.

I’d been burned before.

It always ends the same.

I met a stone man on a cross

And puzzled over what he was about

But the villagers didn’t like that scene

So they cut it out.


I wonder as I wander while

Others find me to fulfill their plans.

It seems the more they make of me

The less I truly am

And they wonder why the manger child

Appears so far away

As villagers still try to keep

Monsters from Christmas day.


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