CHRISTMAS EVE

I

The prisoner of Chillon lies here,

Stretched out on the rack,

Chez Pizzerie du Lac.

 

Prisoner of vendors, he

Hides, behind the new shellacs,

The cost of artifacts.

 

Byron, Shelley, Germaine de Stael

Kept the cupboard stacked

With the contraband

 

Of heroes, not of facts.

But they rhymed the story and,

When the heroes went to jail,

 

Put their chalets up for sale.

Vendors claim the poets were

Just unhappy with Montreux.

 

Still, they got it back,

Byron's castle of Savoy:

Now they sell it as a toy.

 

II

Things grow upside down

This year, like skiers in Flendruz

Whose prime concern is shoes.

 

Last year was hats. The town

In Gstaad is overrun with boots

In Chamois, rabbit, caribou.

 

No wonder. Chillon itself

Was built on cash,

The last resort of Eurotrash.

 

Bottoms sow the tops of things,

As a paratrooper's suit

Implies a parachute.

 

This Christmas evening even

Steeples are reduced to

Sky, which, like a fruit,

 

Opens from the inside out,

Growing as the air is used to

Snowing, backwards from the root.