Christmas Trees

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The city had withdrawn into itself  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.
 

Poems by This Author

"Out, Out—" by Robert Frost
The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yard
A Line-storm Song by Robert Frost
The line-storm clouds fly tattered and swift
Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost
I have been one acquainted with the night
After Apple-Picking by Robert Frost
My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree
An Old Man's Winter Night by Robert Frost
All out-of-doors looked darkly in at him
Birches by Robert Frost
When I see birches bend to left and right
Blueberries by Robert Frost
You ought to have seen what I saw on my way
Bond and Free by Robert Frost
Love has earth to which she clings
Design by Robert Frost
I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
Dust of Snow by Robert Frost
The way a crow
Fire and Ice by Robert Frost
Some say the world will end in fire
For Once, Then, Something by Robert Frost
Others taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs
Ghost House by Robert Frost
I dwell in a lonely house I know
Going for Water by Robert Frost
The well was dry beside the door
Home Burial by Robert Frost
He saw her from the bottom of the stairs
Meeting and Passing by Robert Frost
As I went down the hill along the wall
Mending Wall by Robert Frost
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
Mowing by Robert Frost
There was never a sound beside the wood but one
Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost
Nature's first green is gold
October by Robert Frost
O hushed October morning mild
Reluctance by Robert Frost
Out through the fields and the woods
The Death of the Hired Man by Robert Frost
Mary sat musing on the lamp-flame at the table
The Oven-Bird by Robert Frost
There is a singer everyone has heard
The Pasture by Robert Frost
I'm going out to clean the pasture spring
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
The Sound of the Trees by Robert Frost
I wonder about the trees
To Earthward by Robert Frost
Love at the lips was touch


Further Reading

Poems About Christmas
A Christmas Carol
by George Wither
A Christmas Carol
by Christina Rossetti
A Visit from St. Nicholas
by Clement Clark Moore
Christmas Away from Home
by Jane Kenyon
Christmas Bells
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Noël
by Anne Porter
Noël: Christmas Eve 1913
by Robert Bridges
On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity
by John Milton
Taking Down the Tree
by Jane Kenyon
The Mahogany Tree
by William Makepeace Thackeray
The Oxen
by Thomas Hardy
The Savior must have been a docile Gentleman (1487)
by Emily Dickinson
The Shivering Beggar
by Robert Graves
Toward the Winter Solstice
by Timothy Steele
Poems about Trees
A Poison Tree
by William Blake
Abandonment Under the Walnut Tree
by D. A. Powell
An Apple Gathering
by Christina Rossetti
Arbolé, Arbolé . . .
by Federico García Lorca
Before the Snake
by Nathaniel Tarn
Birch
by Cynthia Zarin
Birches
by Robert Frost
Elders
by Louise Bogan
Gather
by Rose McLarney
Get Used To It
by Margaret Young
Goddess of Maple at Evening
by Chard deNiord
Hard Night
by Christian Wiman
How From Politeness to the Trees
by Cecily Parks
How to Uproot a Tree
by Jennifer K. Sweeney
If You Go into the Woods You Will Find It Has a Technology
by Heather Christle
In California During the Gulf War
by Denise Levertov
Leaves
by Lloyd Schwartz
Letter from Town: The Almond Tree
by D. H. Lawrence
Loveliest of Trees
by A. E. Housman
Man in Stream
by Rosanna Warren
Mountain Pines
by Robinson Jeffers
My Friend Tree
by Lorine Niedecker
My Lady Is Compared to a Young Tree
by Vachel Lindsay
Not Dead
by Robert Graves
Nothing Gold Can Stay
by Robert Frost
Orpheus
by William Shakespeare
Pear Tree
by H. D.
Russian Birch
by Nathaniel Bellows
Solstice
by Ellen Dudley
Song of the Trees
by Mary Colborne-Veel
The Apple Trees at Olema
by Robert Hass
The Branches
by Jean Valentine
The Bride Tree Can't Be Read
by Brenda Hillman
The Heart of the Tree
by Henry Cuyler Bunner
The Lemon Trees
by Eugenio Montale
The Life of Trees
by Dorianne Laux
The Mahogany Tree
by William Makepeace Thackeray
The Planting of the Apple-Tree
by William Cullen Bryant
The Poplar
by Richard Aldington
The Sound of the Trees
by Robert Frost
The Testing-Tree
by Stanley Kunitz
The Weight
by Linda Gregg
The Wishing Tree
by Kathleen Jamie
This Lime Tree Bower My Prison
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Trees
by Joyce Kilmer
Trees in the Garden
by D. H. Lawrence
Trees Need Not Walk the Earth
by David Rosenthal
Vantage
by Alan Shapiro
Vertical
by Linda Pastan
What Happened at the Service?
by Prageeta Sharma
When Autumn Came
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
White Trees
by Nathalie Handal
Willow
by Jane Shore
Winter Trees
by William Carlos Williams