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The Man who Writes Letters from Santa
Emily Strauss


"The earliest Santa letters are ... didactic, usually coming from St. Nicholas, rather than written to him. The minister Theodore Ledyard Cuyler
recalled receiving “an autograph letter from Santa Claus, full of good counsels” during his childhood in 1820s western New York."

                                                                                                                                           --”A Brief History of Sending a Letter to Santa”, Smithsonian Magazine, December 3, 2015

The first year he wrote one hundred.
After thirty years he writes three thousand
a year starting in autumn, the dying time.

He buys his own stationary and postage—
his gift to the universe—some five pages
long, all hand-written, sent to anyone

from people who fill out his online form:
a child, a senior, in dozens of countries,
several languages, an expiation of his pain

and from his letters he creates children's
stories by the hundreds about Santa and bears
and magic. The kids don't know where Santa's

letters come from, a small cold town next to
a desert, a writer who indulges in story-telling,
who addresses children by name, speaks to

their dreams and wishes before they even
know themselves, one anonymous man
helping Santa, still recovering from the war.

© by Emily Strauss.
Used with the author’s permission.


Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry, which she has written since college. More than 450 of her poems appear in a wide variety of online venues and in anthologies, in the U.S. and abroad. The natural world of the American West is Emily’s usual framework; she also considers the narratives of people and places around her. Emily is a retired teacher and lives in Oregon with a small dog and a black cat.


Post New Comment:
I think this might be one of those last-line poems, actually last word, where the ending forces the reader's re-evaluation of all that came before. Well done. And yes "in autumn, that dying time," is stunning.
Posted 12/08/2019 12:54 PM
A lovely thing to do What happiness you bring others.
Posted 12/08/2019 11:03 AM
Posted 12/08/2019 09:13 AM
Janet Leahy:
A generous gesture to write letters to children, and to start "in autumn, the dying time." Lovely poem, thank you Emily.
Posted 12/08/2019 09:01 AM

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