Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

The Raven 2.0 (with apologies to the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe)

My church, Jeff Street Baptist Community at Liberty, has a “Reclaiming Christmas” project every year. We try to resist the consumerist materialism that makes an entire economy depend on mindless buying to celebrate the birth of a poor carpenter and donate money saved to a project in the Two-Thirds World. But we have fun with it. Kicking it off this year near All Hallows Eve, Dan Trabue gave this rendition of Poe’s classic. And Dan didn’t even need Poe’s mental illness nor his morphine addiction! Enjoy.

The Raven

as re-written by a naughty consumer.


Once upon a Christmas season, while I shopped without reason

Over many quaint and curious trinkets and toys from the store,

While I coasted down the aisles, that went on for miles and miles,

Til my socks of argyle were slipping towards the floor.

“‘Tis the season,” I muttered, ‘fa la la la las galore–

Only this, and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I recall it was very nearly Fall

And each of the shopping malls put up their finest Halloween decor

But not that holiday alone, for by September twenty-one

The freaking Christmas decorations did appear all over the stores!

The snowmen, reindeer, elves, and Santas made their way into the stores.

It seems they stay there evermore.

Presently my soul grew weaker; and my spirits they grew bleaker;

“Ma’am,” said I, “or Sir, truly your forgiveness I implore;

But the fact is I was shopping, and I saw you over there mopping,

And I wonder why you’re dropping, all these hints for us to buy more?

It’s not even November! Do all the distinguished members of the head board

Want us to buy forevermore?”

Deep into that dark soul staring, long I stood there wondering, glaring,

At the Blue Vested Customer Service Representative from the store.

But the silence was unbroken, and that teen, he gave no token,

And the only word there spoken were the grunted words, “I was just mopping the floor.”

This he grunted, like a football punted back the words, “the. . . the floor!”

Merely this and nothing more.

“Prophet!” said I, “Thing of evil!–prophet still, if shill or devil!–

Whither the Tempter sent you to lure me to this wretched store?

Tell me that I speak treason, not to want the Christmas season

By the greedy corporations–To turn tricks as a whore! —

This debasement I deplore!

Is there–is there deeper meaning? Tell me–tell me, I implore!”

Qoth the employee, “Dude, I was just mopping the floor.”

Now the manager, slowly running towards the noise so stunning,

and upsetting to the blessed shoppers busily treading through his store;

For he could not help but hearing that a customer was sneering

At the Christmas decorations so glaringly beautiful upon their doors.

Jesus is the reason for the seasonal increase in profits they adore.

They kicked me out—forevermore.



October 22, 2006 Posted by | Christmas, consumerism, economic justice, human rights., materialism | Comments Off on The Raven 2.0 (with apologies to the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe)