The Postmodern Quaker

This is a revision of a post originally published on December 24, 2009.[Icon of the Annunciation]

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 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.

Those are the first and last stanzas of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poem, “Christ Climbed Down.”1 The poet’s understanding of a particular (and peculiar) dogma may have been off — the “Immaculate Conception” doctrine refers to the conception of Mary, not to that of Jesus Christ — but that’s not the worst of his heterodoxies, at least from broadly accepted Christian perspectives. For many Christians, the…

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