Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting


Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting

They say it’s home for Christmas,

this 85 year old spruce from Maryland

sacrificed from its snug spot

in the northeastern woods

murdered with a saw blade and 

hauled to Manhattan 

for one single festive month 

of Christmas celebration

I’m no Scrooge, 

yet I silently weep for this tree – 

rooted in its homeground 

a great grandfather 

in its circle among younger trees

in a peaceful thicket 

where birds nest 

woodland critters seek refuge

and snow falls 

gently blanketing the night 

“Most heralded tree of all at Christmas” announcers of the

Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting say

and in the same breath

“all trees should be celebrated – 

the Arbor Day Foundation and NBC will partner to plant 25,000 trees. 

Text TREES to 707070

to be part of the Global Climate

change” they urge. 

And this is how we celebrate a tree?

We slaughter it and 

dress it up in lights 

and put its carcass on display 

in New York City 

for shopping-bag armed revelers 

to stop 

and rearrange their Coach purses 

and take selfies 

and lower their designer shades 

and gawk at it?

And next, here came an original legend 

to sing with off-key chump backups

They butchered Feliz

Navidad, Jose Feliciano in his nighttime sunglasses and this 

little boy band of his did, 

and in their misery an image

came vividly to mind: 

boys going into a forest 

(calling it tradition) 

with chain saws, coming out carrying a legendary “live tree” 

like a hog-tied pig, 

strapping it down and lighting it up 

as it stands there all sunglassless 

and squinting-

not used to all this city glare-

in the name of Christmas 

while past-their-prime musicians 

try to sing at its feet 

(calling it music)

as it finally fully appreciates the 

solitude of its


deeply wishing it were

home for Christmas


2 Replies to “Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting”

  1. Wow! Ashamedly, I never thought about this before. When I was younger (in the 70's) we often had a “living” tree. I also remember a Miwok Indian generously sharing her culture's perspective on a spirit in each object in nature. Even when the Miwok break a branch of a bush they pray silently to the spirit of that bush. Thank-you for your post. It's yet another area of my life that I harbor decadence. . . .


  2. Kim…it IS sad. I read the article and understand the family worried it would fall over during a storm, but still… trees are much more community-minded and communicative than most of us humans ever realize. They work together to survive; they have means of signaling danger to one another. They even manage to keep felled members live by pumping nutrients to the remaining stump…so to think of this tree growing and flourishing to be cut down for this purpose does pierce the soul. So much irony in that line, home for Christmas… I wonder now if cut trees try to heal themselves like cut grass does (that's what makes the fresh-cut grass smell, the attempted healing). But grass is still attached to the earth and the tree is not –oh so much to ponder here, literally, scientifically, metaphorically. Your poem hits home – deeply.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: