For September’s VV

It Was Once Upon Such A Long Time Ago

Long before the fires burnt all the forests,
we hung tangerines and lumps of coal
from Christmas trees, and in December

we’d chase about the forest, and my dad,
with his shiny axe in hand, chopped down
an unmistakably perfect pine tree that
was as straight as a lighthouse. And,

on its branches, we clipped candles lit
with real flames, hung tangerines from
crimson ribbons, and black lumps of coal.

Those tangerines were gold in goodness,
and those sooty lumps of coal … so dark,
stood for everything that we hoped not.

And we believed in every blessed miracle.
And Santa.
In Prancer and Vixen.  At least, until
all the needles fell off the tree.

But that was long before way-back-when,
when everyone whirled about in cars
without ever a thought. Grandparents
boarded an aeroplane, and always
celebrated every Christmas with us.

Grandpa only asked for a smallish box
of fluorescent sky-blue saltwater taffy.
Grandma, just her Turkish Delight.

But, no one cuts down trees anymore.
Trees are as sacred as rosaries.
Trees are in museums, not in a house,

not dressed up in lights and weighted
down with citrus and coal, or cut into
firewood after the turkey’s picked clean.

But we still remember our old traditions.
Tangerines, a lump of coal, and Grandpa’s
fluorescent sky-blue saltwater taffy.

We stick them together. Stack them in piles.
Piled into towers. On tables. On shelves.
In windows. Oranges, blue taffy, and coal.
On ribbons. Oranges, blue taffy, and coal.

And we always recite that poem about 
Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen,
Comet, Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen.

Written and submitted to Visual Verse for publication in September’s Vol 8 Chapter 11. Image by Vika Wendish. Shared with @Experimentsinfc #APoemADay on Twitter   ©Misky 2021

13 responses to “For September’s VV”

  1. And a fine, sprawling remembrance it is, too, Misky. Congrats on an outstanding work. I sent them something, too (my 1st Sub to VV) & am hopeful that they find it worthy. If so, I will, of course, post a link; if not (once I’ve given up hope) I” probably blog it.
    Have a GREAT weekend, Sister.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Best of luck on your submission, Ron. I’ll keep my eyes open for it. And a great weekend to you, too.


  2. Great poem, Misky. I’m still amazed that people pegged candles with live flames to pine trees. LOL It seems like insanity. But although I’m disturbingly safety anxious, I still love the idea of the wavering flames and the brightly coloured fruit. Just fabulous. Nowadays the decorations are so plastic and glitzy. We often had branches of trees when I was a kid. Cyprus pine off the property. Or, when in Indonesia, sparsely leafed bamboo sprigs. Ha ha. Difficult to decorate.


    1. The candle holders are very heavily weighted at the bottom with a lead ball, so they self-balance. Obviously the tree was fresh straight out of the forest, and they don’t ignite easily from a small flame.


      1. Ok. I guess that makes sense. 🙂 The 2003 fires here in Canberra raged through the neighbouring pine forests. But of course that’s worlds apart from a tiny candle. And it had been a hot summer, during everything out.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a scary weakness for turkish delight, too. Not the proper turkish delight but the chocolate-covered Cadbury stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never tried it. I’m a fruit and nut sort of girl.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. like that too! All the things I can’t have!


  4. A lovely kaleidoscope of Christmas memories.👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Hobbo, and good morning.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good morning to you! Enjoy your Hobnobbs! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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