I have a fondness for "Raven" parodies--19th century writers found them irresistible--and this one is particularly suited for the holiday season. I first found this ode to the more sinister side to Christmas puddings in the humor publication "Tit-Bits" on December 23, 1882, but it continued to be republished in newspapers and magazines at least until early the next century.
The happiest of holidays to you all!
Listen, all ! I tell what happened on the night of Christmas Day,
After I'd been eating pudding in a very reckless way.
Just as Christmas Day was dying, as I on my bed was lying,
When to slumber I was trying, when I'd just begun to snore,
I became aware of something rolling on my chamber floor—
Of a most mysterious rumbling, rolling on my chamber floor.
Only this and nothing more!
Partly waking, partly sleeping, all my flesh with horror creeping,
I could hear it tumbling, leaping, rolling on my chamber floor;
Underneath the bedclothes sinking, I betook myself to thinking
If it might not be a kitten that had entered at the door;
"Yes," said I, "it is a kitten, entered at the open door.
This it is and nothing more."
Presently my heart grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Cat," said I, "or kitten, kindly stop that rolling on the floor."
But it was most irritating, for the sound was unabating.
On my nerves for ever grating was the rolling on the floor;
Till at last I cried in anguish, "Stop that rolling I implore;"
And a voice said, "Nevermore."
This convinced me of my error, up I rose in greatest terror,
Certain that 'twas not a kitten that had spoken just before;
Then into the darkness peering, shivering, wondering, doubting, fearing,
I could dimly see a pudding rolling on my chamber floor;
I could see a big plum pudding rolling on my chamber floor;
May I see it nevermore!
From its mouth a vapour steaming, while its fiery eyes were gleaming,
Gleaming fiercely bright, and seeming fixedly to scan me o'er;
Soon it rolled and rumbled nearer, and its aim becoming clearer,
I could see that it intended jumping higher than the floor;
Yes, it jumped upon my chest, and when in pain I gave a roar,
All it said was, "Nevermore."
Though my back was nearly broken, this reply so strangely spoken.
Seemed to me to be a token that it wished for something more;
So my thoughts in words expressing, I began my sins confessing,
Saying I had eaten pudding many a time in days of yore,
But although I'd eaten pudding many a time in days of yore,
I would eat it nevermore.
Still in spite of my confessing, that plum pudding kept on pressing,
Pressing with its weight tremendous ever on my bosom's core.
Till I cried, "O, monster mighty, in my work I'm often flighty.
But, if you will now forgive me, I'll work hard at classic lore!"
At the end of this vacation I'll work hard at classic lore,
Quoth the pudding "Nevermore."
" Be that word our sign of parting, pudding!" then I shrieked, upstarting,
" Get thee back — get off my stomach, roll again upon the floor!"
Thus I struggled, loudly screaming, till I found I had been dreaming.
Dreaming like a famous poet once had dreamt in days of yore;
But although 'twas like the poet's dream he dreamt in days of yore.
May I dream it nevermore!
[Note: Many thanks to Chris Woodyard for bringing this poem to my attention.]