When Trees Were Real

The Audio Version

Once upon a time

When Yuletide trees were real

Dragged scented and dripping

Through doorways too narrow

And placed in rooms too low-ceilinged

To accommodate both tallest branches

And a star.

Boxes of birdnest lights

And broken ornaments

Too much loved to cast away

Spilled from closets, attics and garages.

Tinsel, tinsel everywhere

A silver-draped season graced with scents

Of heady pine and candle wax,

Birds in roasting pans

Overflowing with savoury stuffing,

Potatoes, onions, carrots

Nestled sizzling beside

A pan of golden Yorkshire puddings

Rising in majestic grace.

And rum and carrot cake

A gauze-wrapped ball on the boil

Awaiting the golden blanket

Of caramel sauce.

Giddy with excitement.

Counting days that pass

With agonizing slowness.

Always snow on Christmas

A virgin blanket laid by gentle hands

On fence posts and tree tops

Spread on lawns awaiting the first print

Of Angel wings and rotund shapes

With carrot noses and coal. lump eyes.

It was always so.

As seasons rolled on and on.

School days that never ended.

They dragged through pageants,

paper chains and hand-print cards.

Who will play Joseph and who Mary?

The beautiful ones. The popular ones.

The rest assigned to Shepherd roles

And the lesser Angels or Magi.

No matter.

Tears welled in parent’s eyes.

No matter.

Their children shone

As the story unfolded.

No matter.

A stutter, a stumble,

No matter.

All beauty, grace and innocence.

And in every house, that special room

Off limits to prying eyes

Cloaked in secrecy and voices hushed.

Great mysteries took place within

Then vanished in the twinkling of

Christmas morning.

Santa’s knee allowed the exchange.

Of whispered secrets and desires.

Gayly coloured cards began to arrive

From Aunts and Uncles,

Vague faces and unfamiliar scents

Arriving all at once and toasting strange glasses

Forbidden to the children that crowded around,

That clinked together with increasing. vigour.

And hearty good wishes.

Even for the grumpy old Uncle.

And we all knew he was the softest teddy bear of all.

And a great silver dollar rose above the trees

Making field and forest dance for joy.

As the night deepened

Stars winked into being through frosted glass.

And little eyes began to close.

Despite the promise of tomorrow’s dawning.

Finally hushed voices slipped from the room of secrets.

Then the telltale squeak of that door.

To the forbidden realm.

Of boxes and paper, ribbons and bows.

And enigmatic tags that read

“To: You and You and You” “From: ???”

Opened and closed.

Opened and closed.

Arms filled with bundled secrets soon made known.

The swish of slippers and rustle of paper.

Sounds unheard to sleeping ears.

The new day dawns.

Christmas is here.

It has always been so.

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This has been a Piperguy48 production
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