His Hobby  
 
Our Mr. Hughes, retired, was excellent
At working wood, and every Yule he made
A creche —cut plywood forms to represent  
The cast, especially Jesus, whom he laid
 
Within a crib, and every evening
All the plywood folk and plywood beasts
Shone bright below a lighted star on string  
That hung up in a maple toward the East.
 
One morning, though, to his dismay Hughes found
His whole display had been destroyed that night
By vandals —Jesus thrown upon the ground
As were the others, all for baseless spite.
 
Appalled to see the end of all his labors,  
Hughes called police and press, was interviewed
And filmed surrounded by condoling neighbors    
Who almost cried that some could be so crude.  
 
Next year grim Hughes put out the same tableau
But  rascals did as they had done before,
And smashed it all, thus forcing him to go
To cops and  TV interviews once more.
 
And so the cycle went year after year:
Creche up, creche crushed, police and interviews,
But then the vandals halted, why not clear,
                                   And when it came to creches, so did  Hughes.

(2004)

quarains narrative ironic

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