Frost and the Christmas 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The city had withdrawn   into itself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.



1 Comment

Filed under Links, Uncategorized, Union City Library

One response to “Frost and the Christmas Trees

  1. Thank you for that! So lovely! 🙂 Happy Holidays! Uncle Tree

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