In Shanty Town the hobos ’round
Glimpse quite a dreadful sight.
A taxpayer, in Santa furs,
Sits begging for his life!
With little bells and signs as well,
He uses up the space
The bums must use to ask all of
The passers-by for change!
Not right, this plight, on Christmas night!
“How can it be!”, they wail.
“When we lay here and ask for change,
They lock us in the jail!”
Injustice! Slander! Unfair laws!
Some bums come from the bar,
And demand of poor old Santa Claus
The money in his jar.
“I simply can’t!” The Santa says,
“This money’s not for me!
It’s going to a soup kitchen
To buy a Christmas tree!”
“A Christmas tree! How can it be?”
The hobos yell and jeer.
“This stash of cash’ll come with us
To buy some yuletide beer!”
They take the jar of change from him
By the force of pointed shanks,
And buy some booze and brand-new shoes,
For those among their ranks.
As they wander in the city eating food
And guzzling drink,
The feel of warmth and happiness,
Is all that they can think.
“Christmastime is quite sublime!”
Says a bum in merry jest,
As juices from his onion dinner
Drip along his chest.
“Quite!” Says Dwight, by the moonlight bright,
He’s happy as a lark,
As the entire drunken company,
Happens on a park.
And blazing forth in brilliant green, like from a dream, an evergreen!
“Best ol’ tree I’ve ever seen!” Says Shmee, as he wipes his fingers clean.
And they stare in awe at the pretty sight,
The entire troop of hobo guys,
and one is moved to tears that night,
For something stirs inside their minds.
“Say…” says Jay, what’d Santa say?
About the kitchen by the way?
Maybe we can take this tree,
And bring it to other bums to see!”
They cheer and set to hacking it
With shivs and shanks and teeth,
And they work until the dawn breaks
To cut the mighty tree.
Lines of pinkish light emerge
The sky is grey and wizened,
And city windows shine with orange
Light from the horizon.
The hobo kin, with one last heave
Do fell the mighty tree,
And finish by the light of morn
That final selfless deed.
And they carry on their shoulders
Through the streets the evergreen,
And raise it like a victory flag
For all the world to see.
A worker from the kitchen brings the
Horde of poor ones out,
To see the might and splendor
Of the tree the boys have found.
“It’s tall and bright and shining!”
Says the worker as she stares.
“And though it may just tip and crush
The expensive building there,
I’d say the risk of lawsuit is a
worthy price to pay,
To see this wondrous plant life
Which has gathered us today!”
And every heart’s a flutter, every person
Moved to tears,
For this gathering of the hobos
Is the biggest one in years,
They hang garland wreaths of garlic stink
Upon the tree so fair,
And they light the glowing trash hearth
With the greases from their hair.
Merry Christmas to the Shanty Towns,
And taxpayers alike,
Merry Christmas to all,
And to all a good night.