A Christmas Reconception

I recently rediscovered the following Lawrence Ferlinghetti poem on a blog I enjoy, http://radicalfarmwives.com/.  It takes some jabs at commercialized Christmas, and I thought it worth sharing here with those of you who appreciate nature’s gifts. Truly, life’s most beautiful treasures aren’t for sale. So, as we enjoy listening to carols, decorating trees, and opening presents this holiday, let’s take a moment to reflect on the amazing wonders nature bestows on us, as well as the greatest human gifts  — faith, hope, charity, and love.

CHRIST CLIMBED DOWN

Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and ran away to where
there were no rootless Christmas trees
hung with candycanes and breakable stars

Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and ran away to where
there were no gilded Christmas trees
and no tinsel Christmas trees
and no tinfoil Christmas trees
and no pink plastic Christmas trees
and no gold Christmas trees
and no black Christmas trees
and no powderblue Christmas trees
hung with electric candles
and encircled by tin electric trains
and clever cornball relatives

Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and ran away to where
no intrepid Bible salesmen
covered the territory
in two-tone cadillacs
and where no Sears Roebuck crèches
complete with plastic babe in manger
arrived by parcel post
the babe by special delivery
and where no televised Wise Men
praised the Lord Calvert Whiskey

Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and ran away to where
no fat handshaking stranger
in a red flannel suit
and a fake white beard
went around passing himself off
as some sort of North Pole saint
crossing the desert to Bethlehem
Pennsylvania
in a Volkswagen sled
drawn by rollicking Adirondack reindeer
with German names
and bearing sacks of Humble Gifts
from Saks Fifth Avenue
for everybody’s imagined Christ child

Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and ran away to where
no Bing Crosby carolers
groaned of a tight Christmas
and where no Radio City angels
iceskated wingless
thru a winter wonderland
into a jinglebell heaven
daily at 8:30
with Midnight Mass matinees

Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and softly stole away into
some anonymous Mary’s womb again
where in the darkest night
of everybody’s anonymous soul
He awaits again
an unimaginable
and impossibly
Immaculate Reconception
the very craziest
of Second Comings

*Note: I used to love teaching Ferlinghetti’s poems when I was a high school English teacher, not only because he creates such vivid images, but also because he makes a point to make his poems accessible to ordinary people, not just educated intellectuals. (He even writes about underwear!) A major influence on the Beat movement, Ferlinghetti, age 94, is still writing poems and staying involved with the San Francisco bookstore he opened in the 1950’s, City Lights. To learn more about his work, a good place to start is http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/lawrence-ferlinghetti.

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4 thoughts on “A Christmas Reconception

  1. I started smiling at “rootless Christmas trees” and the smile just grew bigger with every line! Excellent choice! Thank you for sharing!

      • I too enjoyed the poem you shared. I am over a month beyond Christmas, but I was still glad to be able to read it. I love to follow Maureen’s posts — she is so interesting, intelligent, involved & full of energy & life. Reading her led me to you. Thanks to both of you !!!

      • I’m glad you found my blog, Barbara. Delighted to connect with you! If you’re interested, My Eco-centric Life has a Facebook page too, where I share additional photos and info. about animals, nature, and conservation. Thanks so much for reading. I’ll have to thank Maureen, too. She’s always so supportive!

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