The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Tuesday, Miss Peregrine, Winterthur Trees

Christmas Trees
By Robert Frost

A Christmas circular letter

The city had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out,
A-buttoning coats, to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods—the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn't thought of them as Christmas trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I'd hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I'd hate to hold my trees, except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth—
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine,
I said, "There aren't enough to be worth while."

"I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over."

                            "You could look.
But don't expect I'm going to let you have them."
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded "Yes" to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer's moderation, "That would do."
I thought so too, but wasn't there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north.

                            He said, "A thousand."

"A thousand Christmas trees!—at what apiece?"

He felt some need of softening that to me:
"A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars."

Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece)—
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.

A thousand Christmas trees I didn't know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn't lay one in a letter.
I can't help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.


Cheryl came over Monday, took me out to lunch for my birthday at Tara Thai, and we spent the rest of the afternoon watching movies! We started with Bridget Jones's Baby, which if I had spent more than five seconds thinking about, I would probably have disliked as much as The Edge of Reason, whose sexual politics is worse but since it's very shallow I feel justified in noting that super-thin Colin Firth looks older and more haggard than not-so-skinny Colin Firth so I wasn't even finding him attractive. Then we watched the far more interesting though much too scary for kids Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, whose female characters also did not impress me but it has gorgeous, evocative visuals and is well acted.

We watched an episode of The Crown before Cheryl had to go home. I had promised Maddy earlier in the day that we would take her to Radio Shack to replace her phone charger, so after dinner, we went to the mall, where we all got new charging cables and then spent a lot of time in Teavana tasting samples and smelling all the yummy holiday teas. We watched some of the Colts' blowout of the Jets, then Timeless, which I quite liked this week (I didn't think I was shippy about it, but Lucy and Wyatt need to do more kissing; has this show been picked up for a full season, or is NBC cutting it off at 16?). Here are some of the Christmas trees on display at Winterthur this Yuletide season, including the annual dried flower and March Bank trees:


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