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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Cousin(s) (05/22/08)

TITLE: The Gift of the Magpie
By Karen Wilber


On the first day after Christmas
Mom is always in a stew
‘Cause we’re buried in the presents
We received from cousin Lu.

They’re strewn across the living room
They’re stacked up in the hall;
Our bedrooms are a’bursting
It’s like living in the mall.

When Lu arrives on Christmas morn
We hear a scraping sound
As her car pulls in our driveway
Bumper dragging on the ground.

She enters with a flourish;
Says “I have a job for you.
Could you unload my car?
It’s only just a box or two.”

The two become not three, not four
But five, six, seven, eight;
Then nine, then ten, eleven, twelve.
(It’s getting kind of late.)

By lunchtime we’ve unpacked her car
And packed our house instead.
Then after lunch we start the task
That fills our mom with dread.

For cousin Lu’s a shopper
Buying bargains by the score.
But where she does her shopping
Isn’t a department store.

We suspect that the location
Where Lu gets her yearly stash
Is a place where men sell treasures
That some would consider trash.

An open air flea market
Draws folks from all around
To sell their wares from backs of cars
Or blankets on the ground.

There Lu, the magpie, buys the shiny
Goods that catch her eye
And she doesn’t leave the market
‘Til her car is piled high.

So each and every Christmas day
We spend the afternoon
Unwrapping all the boxes
That fill up our living room.

For Dad a dozen belts and buckles
Different shapes and size;
A plaid shirt paired with checkered pants
Some polka-dotted ties.

For Mom a dozen pairs of stockings
Colored navy blue
And a suit made out of denim
Top size 16, skirt size 2.

For Sis a pair of sandals
In a shade of sparkling gold;
High heels built for an Amazon.
(She’s only 4 years old.)

For me a shirt of blue and white
A baseball cap of red.
Across them all an inky trail.
Is that a tire tread?

A kitchen mop, stale lemon drops
A singing Billy Bass;
Twelve trial size containers
Of perfume of lemon grass.

Some combs for hair, a length of chain
A book inscribed in black.
Each gift and gag is without tag
We cannot take them back.

Then Mom hands Lu her Christmas gift
We see Lu’s smile fall.
She looks around. Her eyes see just
One box. You mean that’s all?

Dear cousin Lu, you’re loved
In spite of your eccentric ways,
But it doesn’t take a million gifts
To fill the day with praise.

The spirit of your giving
Has gone just a bit awry;
The real gifts found at Christmastime
Are those you cannot buy.

The Magi brought just one gift each
Selected carefully
To give their Lord and Savior
That first Christmas. Don’t you see?

So save your cash, don’t load your car
We all know that you care.
But if you must shop, remember
Kids do not want underwear.

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This article has been read 930 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sara Harricharan 05/29/08
Heehee, that cousin Lu is quite a character! I loved the last lines of the last verse best of all. How true indeed! Great job. ^_^
Shirley McClay 05/29/08
Very fun! 12 boxes.. wow! I hope she really liked her one gift... LOL! I felt kinda bad for her.
Debbie Wistrom05/29/08
Your title (pun) drew me in and I was well rewarded by your wit.
Fun cousin Lu!
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/30/08
I laughed all through this delightful, humorous poem, so creatively written.
Betty Castleberry06/01/08
Ha Ha! This is so entertaining. I have a "magpie" in my family, too, but she's an aunt, not a cousin. She loves TV shopping, but doesn't do thrift stores. Otherwise, she's a lot like your MC. Thanks for the chuckle. Well done.
Sharlyn Guthrie06/01/08
Cute! Love the word-play in your title, and all the fun packed into these lines.
Cheri Hardaway 06/01/08
Great title! Great poem, packed with fun! I think Lu could be one of my relatives too! Blessings, Cheri
Beth LaBuff 06/02/08
I had to smile at the size differences in the clothes for Mom -- how funny. The tire tread was hilarious -- especially knowing that it's true. :) Your underwear ending is so funny. You have such wonderful humor in this.
Jan Ackerson 06/02/08

I had an aunt who was similar. One year she gave my daughters obviously used Barbies.

This is both entertaining and affectionate. I loved it.
Jan Ackerson 06/02/08
Oh, I meant to mention that I loved your title.
Joshua Janoski06/02/08
This would be wonderful on a Christmas card! So funny and the rhymes flowed smoothly. I really liked this. It was a a unique offering for this week's topic.
LauraLee Shaw06/04/08
This is great! Really engaging and entertaining, and a great reminder of not storing up for ourselves OR OTHERS treasured junk on this earth.
My favorite stanza:
A kitchen mop, stale lemon drops
A singing Billy Bass;
Twelve trial size containers
Of perfume of lemon grass.

LaNaye Perkins06/04/08
This was fun and witty. I enjoyed every line of it. Well done.
Lyn Churchyard06/04/08
Oh my, I laughed myself silly with this one. So very, very good. I particularly loved:
Across them all an inky trail.
Is that a tire tread?

Still giggling here.
Aaron Morrow06/05/08
Karen, yer killin me ROFL this is so perfect (and I used to have a relative just like this). My favorite of all of them:

And a suit made out of denim
Top size 16, skirt size 2.

That conjures up quite an image. Great work!