Poems of Christmas

Decorating the Tree

My first memory of a Christmas tree may be imagined: the thick fragrance of burning wax candles and pine and underneath the boughs a doll named Lady Jane. The real memory is of a tree on a sled, Mother with a small axe and we three children following her home from the woods to string popcorn and cranberry chains. Now I wrap strings of small clear lights under Mother's old gold fluted star. Next, tiny teddy bears and two-inch Raggedy Anns. And already a Cambridge tree. But it changes with Sona's crayoned turkey, Maro's jointed paper Claus, my father's little leather lion, my brother's wooden soldier, then Mary Deming's felt dollies marked with Maro and Sona's names, silk mandarins from Lorig, elves on skiis from Louise Lence. a gold bobbin from Lois, a lamb, white and woolly from Patience Wales, tiny creche figures from Jerusalem brought by my sister Helen, glass baubles from a five and ten of thirty years ago, silver bells from Frances Minturn Howard and Archie, small crystals from Alice and Jack. There. With icicles and shards of accumulated memories, children, marriage, friendships, a shattered past twinkles here intact.

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