A Favorite Christmas Poem…

Christ Climbed Down by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, a Favorite Christmas Poem

Christmas isn’t really over until January 6, which the Christian church calls Epiphany, observed as the church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the gentiles, or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of Christ’s baptism. (WEBSTER’S NEW COLLEGIATE DICTIONARY).  That gives me the chance to hang on to the season a little more by sharing one of my favorite seasonal poems.  This one is by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and should be familiar to those who grew up in the 1960’s,  a time when the young were growing more suspicious of commercialism and America’s prefabricated value system.  Some readers may balk at the poem, but to me its message still rings true.   JB
 
Christ Climbed Down
By Lawrence Ferlinghetti
**********************
CHRIST climbed down 
from His bare Tree 
this year and ran away to where 
there were no rootless Christmas trees 
hung with candy canes 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 creches 
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 Volkswagon 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 carollers 
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

About John

John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BA and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado. He spends his winters in Pompano Beach, Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on Amazon.com as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth and most recent book, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014.
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