John F. McCullagh

(09/28/1954 / Flushing)

The First* Christmas Tree


It was on this day in Thirty one,
That our City got this present;
A Douglas fir, nearly 20 feet,
in Rockefeller Center.
Just simple workmen giving thanks-
Not a single one percenter!

There was just a hint of tinsel
and no lights upon that tree.
Tiffany did not mold Glass stars
for common folks to see.
On that Inauguration day
No speeches certainly.

The stand was simply two by fours
Formed in a simple cross
The Evergreen a symbol
of Everlasting life, of course.
A tiny hint of sacred
amidst Secularity.

Those were dark days in our nation
with so many in distress.
Was it faith or Optimism
The workers were trying to express?
Perhaps they are one and the same
Just in a different dress.

Tonight we light a grander tree
And the mayor makes a speech.
These are days when a better life
seems just beyond our reach.
No longer called a Christmas tree,
Divorced now from that Faith
I feel like something precious died
And we’re left with just the Wraith.

Submitted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Edited: Thursday, December 05, 2013
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Poet's Notes about The Poem

12/05/1931 Workmen erect the first Christmas tree in what will become Rockefeller center

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