Friday, December 16, 2011

red and gold the fluffy threads

It's taken the best part of a week, but our tree--not a Christmas tree exactly, but an evergreen Yule tree--is finally "quite dressed."  Reading at that link, I found something I didn't know, that the Druids decorated their evergreens with "images of what they wanted the waxing year to bring."  By design, our tree is hung with flora and fauna: many rustic and realistic animals, fruit and flowers, stars and snowflakes, sweet Laplanders and Alpenkinder.  I guess these images from nature are what I'm always wishing for.  (Our tradition of hanging plain little gingerbread men rather confuses the concept, but as I've done it every year since I was born, it's not December without them.)

Tonight the kids pulled a slip from the Solstice countdown calendar which invited them to make a fire in the fireplace (for Duncan), roast marshmallows (for Daisy) and read from our collection of holiday books and poems. We worked our way through toddler favorites (Happy Christmas, Maisy; lifting the flaps is still fun), classics ("The Night Before Christmas") and finally the lovely spangled little tree by e.e. cummings, illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray. 

[little tree]

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid

look...................... the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"

by e. e. cummings

Put up your little arms, world.

The rest of Poetry Friday is with Kate Coombs at Book Aunt.


  1. Oh, how I love e.e! ...and the way you ended your blog, too, Heidi. So tender.


  2. I've been avidly searching for this book but I couldn't find it in our library bookshelves - I was hoping to feature it for our Christmas post. I've always been in love with e.e. cummings. I also like your stories about your tree - we don't have evergreens in this part of the world - I heard that the smell of an actual live tree inside the home beats all the inconvenience caused and the mess and hassle and such. I love your photo too. :)
    Enjoy your weekend!

  3. I love hearing about your traditions; your tree sounds magnificent! And I just discovered the book Little Tree and ordered it for my granddaughter this Christmas. What a beautiful poem.

  4. What a lovely post, Heidi. Your tree sounds so beautiful and I'm glad the gingerbread men are still part of your holiday tradition :). I love Cummings's poem, too.

  5. This poem (and your family story) somehow captures the very best of the season.

  6. I love reading this charming Christmas poem every year.

    Thank you, Heidi.

  7. So beautiful and warm and welcoming! Thank you for sharing, and wishing you much goodness in the waxing year....

  8. I haven't missed having a tree until this post. If I had kids in the house, I wouldn't be able to give myself permission to be too busy for a tree.

    We're having our annual Solstice gathering a little early this year -- you and yours are invited over tonight for some Hopi stew and sage bread. The Kachinas will be bringing gifts along with the lengthening of the days!

  9. This poem by cummings, (and one other by Rosetti), is the poem that made me want to write. Thanks for reminding me!

  10. One of my favorite cummings poems. Lovely post!


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