Jay Bookman

is deputy editorial page editor

of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tis the day we call Christmas, yet gloom fills the land.

Things haven't been going exactly as planned.

The news pages are full of jobs disappearing,

CEO profiteering, Illinois racketeering.

Detroit is collapsing, the Earth overheating,

And our 401(k)s are taking a beating.

So I started to wonder what solace to offer

To those who are stuck with naught in the coffer,

To those who are threatened with pending foreclosure,

To those having trouble just keeping composure.

How might I cheer the sad and the cranky?

(I can't hand out billions; I'm no Ben Bernanke.)

At first, I decided that since I'm a writer,

Trying to make this holiday brighter,

I should write something grand, something stirring and gallant.

Well, I tried and I tried, but I haven't the talent

To summon the words that might sound inspired

To the worried, the poor, and the recently fired.

I'll defer to Obama or the Rev. Joe Lowery

To encourage with rhetoric lofty and flowery.

Instead, I decided, until the inaugural,

To try to raise cheer with very bad doggerel.

'Cause the grim have to grin, the glum have to smile,

If you rhyme about nonsense, but do it in style.

I mean, really, you'd have to be utterly sour,

Like someone just tortured at the hands of Jack Bauer,

Not to laugh at this clown who thinks

Sarah Palin

Rhymes - in a way - with the word

parasailin'

.

Me and my puns - you couldn't resist us.

If you cracked a smile, then ... Merry Christmas.

E-mail Jay Bookman at jbookman@ajc.com.