tlf news Vol. xviii #4 December, 1997

Don't Come, Christmas

Don't come, good Christmas;
it's still too soon.
Mothers are trembling
in the mid-day sun,
and hungry children
wander the streets alone;
and the campesino, although he wants to,
can't read your name in the shop-windows.

Don't come, Christmas,
as an insult to our poverty;
don't fill the rich
with expensive liquors,
nor puff up their wives
with pearls and diamonds.

Don't come, good Christmas.
Be merciful; don't come.
We don't want the shame
of those humiliating contrasts:
fine silk from China
and coarse patched burlap;
fancy imported turkeys
and a tortilla with salt.

Don't come, Christmas;
give us a bit more time.
Remember that so many
suffer when you come,
extracting a few mouldy coins
from their knotted handkerchiefs
to buy from the world
a single share of your joy.

Remember that we are legion
submerged in misery
and yearning to taste you
in drinks and elegant cakes,
in toys and jellies;
and wishing our children could feel
the warmth of Christmas Eve
in the resounding fireworks
the rich ignite to celebrate you.

Don't show your face, Christmas,
in teams of happy reindeer
bearing toys and bells and sleighs
to the houses of the rich kids
why your presence among us means
exalting on glowing bill-boards
a Santa Claus decked in finest furs,
while depriving of royal honor
the naked glory of the shivering God-child.

Don't come, good Christmas.
We still don't understand you.

-Dr. Alfonso Zúniga Alemán

From all of us at teatro la fragua:

May your Christmas be filled
with peace and joy;
and may you help bring that peace
to this world of darkness in the new year.

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