John C. Mannone
Inspired by “little tree” by e. e. cummings
There’s a little Christmas tree in my living room
for daughter, granddaughter and me—a little scrub
pine with tiny piney leaves that prickled just a bit
especially when I sawed it down in my backyard.
The slender trunk would scarcely fit between
the gaping screws of an oversized Christmas tree
stand, spiraling all the way in, but hitting only air,
yet still, the little tree stood tall, despite the single
strand of flashing lights that seemed to weigh
it down. A sparkling garland dressed the tree.
And on the 24th it’s magic came to life, it danced
with music all around the gifts appearing there.
It had a glow, an angelic glow, as it stretched itself
to ten feet tall, then through the ceiling and through
the roof, to the clouds another hundred feet or so,
until it touched the face of God
who put a lot of Christmas in my little tree.
Poet’s Notes: This poem is based on a true event. My daughter and youngest granddaughter were staying at my house in the Tennessee countryside a few years ago. I wanted to give them a Christmas with a tree and all. Back then we were all on the poor side and had to improvise, so I cut down a small pine tree in my yard. My tree stand was more suitable for a much thicker trunk, but I did the best I could. I didn’t think the needles were going to be that sharp! Nevertheless, we decorated the tree with its prickly, flimsy branches and it felt like a towering tree of beauty. In gratitude, the poem naturally followed, especially since I was thinking of the e.e. cummings poem, “little tree.” It can be read here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47304/little-tree.