T.S. Eliot, with illustrations by David Jones
The Cultivation of Christmas Trees
London: Faber and Faber, 1954
For the American expatriate poet T.S. Eliot, a pioneer of literary modernism, Christmas is a holiday that has descended into vulgar commercialism. The poem's illustrator depicts one of Santa's reindeer slain with arrows of holiday greed. It lies on a wooded hillside scarred by the trunks of trees cut down for Christmas celebrations that, as the poem alleges, are merely an occasion for sentimental indulgence. Eliot inscribed this copy for Martin Cyril D'Acy, a Jesuit of his acquaintance.
The poem's final lines about the cyclical nature of time echo a theme central to Eliot's great poem "Four Quartets" (1943).