Return to Karasung

The Yuletide song that celebrates
“stockings hung in Karasung” evoked
little Asian children—maybe in Sumatra—
hopeful for presents when they woke.
Was it sung by Sinatra?

As a kid I knew that in Karasung
treetops don’t glisten.
Christmas isn’t white
and maybe not even Christian.
Ants would eat cookies you leave for Santa.

I knew Santa doesn’t visit everyone
didn’t even visit my home, by jiminy,
although we had a mantelpiece
in our four rooms—without a chimney.

I felt the songwriter had the intent
to include everyone, on every continent
just as the Democratic Club handed out
candy canes to all including me, and I went
to their St. Patrick’s Day Party.

My kid brother and I hadn’t a prayer
of winning a prize there in any race or Irish dance.
But when Dublin elected a Jewish Lord Mayor,
and St. Pat’s coincided with Purim by chance,
my brother went to Temple in his bar mitzvah suit
and my mother’s chain necklace, and won Best Costume.)

Not long ago I realized that Karasung
existed only in my mind. There were three
girls named Carol in my class, one with an ‘e,’
so you’d imagine that I’d understand “carols sung.”

But I’m not going to give it up. I’ll visit
Karasung when I’m drifting off. And I’ll bring
oranges and almonds to the children
of Karasung and see to it
that they have reason to sing.

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