Christ Climbed Down

One of my favorite Christmas poems surely is “Christ Climbed Down” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

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 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 Volkswagen sled
drawn by rollicking Adirondack reindeer
and 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

Copyright 1958 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

A Birthday Poem

The other day was my birthday. My wife challenged me to write about . . .

 

Asparagus.

At my age, all the good topics are taken:

“if we had world enough and time,” but past

my three score that seems short; and Milton grumped

“how soon hath time” at a mere three and twenty;

and the day that Donald Hall grew older he

was younger than I am now, and that high school

musical still plays on – my musement broken

when the waiter brings our plates.

“Asparagus,” you say. “Write what you know.”

Asparagus, delight of Michigan’s

early summer, ours for three weeks or perhaps

by strength of growing season, four, the bright

stalks the color of June, those childhood spears

now fallen like so many candles diagonal

across my plate, a demarcation

before and after, meat and potatoes,

still crisp to challenge the knife,

green arrows that lead past the plate to you.

 

A Graduation Poem

written for S Camp. June 2012

There’s nothing like a door to the future –

They’re sold by the pallet at Menard’s:

Steel core, hollow core, antiqued and painted;

the plain front and cross-buck; your classic fan light

Neo-Georgian; the smart timbered craftsmen

for the suburban sophisticate; the oval

frosted glass with French curliques

for the incurably romantic – they’re yours

to make every exit an entrance; this stage

set for imagination, a market theatre

of absurd choice, where doors, paint chips, hardware

and no-shadow light in a hundred designs

keep your back to the sliding door, the setting sun,

and the warmth of a summer, only now begun.