Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Twelfth Night *

I took this picture in the dark but the flash lit it up and so doesn't really do the Christmas tree justice - it actually looked very magical. The tree comes down tomorrow I'm sad to say. I always get the decorations down by 6 January but I'm embarrassed to admit that sometimes they don't get put back in their boxes until June or July. 
I discovered Jane Kenyon at the Poetry Foundation. Here's a fitting poem of hers from a collection which I've just ordered. An ex-library copy (my favourites!) from Amazon Marketplace. A bit of post-Christmas retail therapy (£1.91+p&p).

*Twelfth Night

Taking Down the Tree

"Give me some light!" cries Hamlet's
uncle midway through the murder
of Gonzago. "Light! Light!" cry scattering
courtesans. Here, as in Denmark,
it's dark at four, and even the moon
shines with only half a heart.

The ornaments go down into the box:
the silver spaniel, My Darling
on its collar, from Mother's childhood
in Illinois; the balsa jumping jack
my brother and I fought over,
pulling limb from limb. Mother
drew it together again with thread
while I watched, feeling depraved
at the age of ten.

With something more than caution
I handle them, and the lights, with their
tin star-shaped reflectors, brought along
from house to house, their pasteboard
toy suitcases increasingly flimsy.
Tick, tick, the desiccated needles drop.

By suppertime all that remains is the scent
of balsam fir. If it's darkness
we're having, let it be extravagant.


  1. Love the tree, love the poem, thanks for the reminder!

  2. thanks and you're welcome Titus - it's a grim job but someone's got to do it....!