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Picolla (Xmas story - beware it's touching)

Piccola

(Musea version of a poem by Celia Thaxter. Note it was the custom for St. Nick to leave a present in the child's shoe. Piccola = pick-o-la)
Poor Mother, poor Father, house maid and share cropper
and both pockets empty, except for due bills.
What can they get their little girl for Christmas.
"Piccola! Piccola! Love of my life!"
Father wrings hands and mother cries.
The bells ring carols as the family walks to church.
A snowflake falls on Piccola's nose.
The sky turns from grey to deepest pure blue
As they enter the nave with the other parishioners.

All three singing from hard wood pews.
Piccola's mouth makes a big "O" on her vowels.
But her mind's trying to see, not the notes, but the future -
Trying to see what would fill up her shoe,
Trying to see by one dim candle.

Parents in whispers, decide it's best
To tell her her present is not here yet,
Not denied, it's only delayed ...
And drop into slumber as they pray
'Perhaps by January and Jesus' grace ...

Morning Sun peeps through the fluttering shades,
The window cracked open gets abundant free air.
Piccola's eyes widen as she remembers,
And before the cock crows tumbles to her shoe.
And their shivering, a refugee from the cold.
A tiny beige and half asleep sparrow.

Picolla feeds it - they have crumbs a plenty,
And bounds to her parents, "Look what St. Nicholas left me!
It's the best gift a girl could get"
I've decided to christen it Picollete
And all eyes glisten with tears of joy.

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