It was Christmas Eve in the house of white
The clocks were striking twelve at night
While a clanging sound from down the hall
Was loud enough to wake up all
Except the man who slept and snored
As if in cabinet meeting bored
Unshaken from his world of dreams
Unbothered by the ape-like screams
Of a chimpanzee wrapped up in chain
Who woke the man with this refrain,
“I was your partner long ago
You knew me by the name Bonzo.
“I come to warn and not to fright
You will have guests throughout this night.
The ghost of scandal from the past
The ghosts of now and future cast
Their shadows on your bedroom wall
To show you what might well befall
A man who fails to see the need
To show the truth with all due speed.”
Then Bonzo left like a flying arrow
Next came a man with 5 o’clock shadow.
“I hope I have not come too late,
For I am the ghost of Watergate.
“I’ll tell you tales of Gordon Liddy
Howard Hunt and Donald Segretti
Of press and public going ape
Over [expletive deleted] tape.
And I’ll tell you what you need to do
If you don’t me compared to you.
You should fire some staff, then fire more
Then change the locks on the White House door.
You might even try to tell the truth
Though I, of course, took a different route.
And if all of this advice is lost
I’ll put you in touch with David Frost.”
Then like the first, the second left
Replaced by a man who seemed bereft
Out of the darkness staggered forth
Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North.
“I would like to tell you all that I know,
But, of course, my lawyer ghost says no.
He says in dreams there’s no exception
To my 6th and 5th amendment protection.
He says he’s charging by the hour
And wonders about your pardon power.”
Then North was gone, the hour late
Followed by the ghosts of eighty-eight.
“We are the ghosts of your future party,”
Said Dole and Baker in voices hardy.
While Kemp and Bush spoke political mantras
Carefully weighing the pros and contras.
Then a vision appeared of a cemetery
Where second terms are often buried.
And the man awoke as from a dream
Resolved to change his current scheme.
“I’ll fire Regan, and I’ll trace the cash.”
He ran to the window, threw open the sash
And loudly called in the new morn light
“Merry Christmas to all, Nancy was right.”
A version of this poem was published in the Times-Picayune on December 21, 1986 in a column by Angus Lind titled “A Little Rhyme, Reason for President Reagan.”