Christmas Tree

The first of two poems I’ll include today is supposed to look like a Christmas tree. It has nine lines with each line having more syllables than the last. In the second poem, I talk about how the creation of the first poem triggered a memory of a school Christmas craft project that didn’t turn out quite right. Both poems are from my new book, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

On A Summer Evening

surrounds me.
Crickets chirp their
evening serenade.
I lie awake, listen
to the night outside the panes.
I finally close my eyes and drift,
lulled by the crickets’ songs, the breezes.

I Admire My Handiwork

The poem contains nine lines,
each with one more syllable than the last.
It looks like a Christmas tree.
I’m transported back to my fifth grade classroom
in a school for children with visual impairments.

I’m pasting pop bottle tops to a piece of red felt
in nine rows, each containing more lids than the last.
But the rows are jagged.
“It’s supposed to look like a Christmas tree,” says Mrs. Jones.
“Don’t you know what a Christmas tree looks like?”

Almost fifty years later,
I stare in amazement at my computer screen
where I’ve managed to form a perfect Christmas tree out of words.

What do you remember about having a Christmas tree in your home? Did Dad go out in the forest to find just the right tree, or did you all pile into the family station wagon and drive to a nearby lot? Did you use homemade or store-bought decorations? Did your tree have a star or angel on top? Who was given the honor of putting that star or angel on top of the tree? Please e-mail me or share your memories below.

Here’s a Christmas medley to get you thinking about that memorable Christmas tree. This link will be available for at least a couple of days.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

Author: abbiejohnsontaylor

I'm the author of two novels,, two poetry collections, and a memoir. My work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. I'm visually impaired and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my totally blind late husband who was paralyzed by two strokes. Please visit my website at

2 thoughts on “Christmas Tree”

  1. Christmas memories come to mind each year and the tree we had as children was so pitiful looking I feel sad when I see pictures of our Christmas Trees. My brother took my sister and me to the woods and he cut down a pine tree. Pines are not shaped like the firs and conical shaped trees grown in the north. Our little pine trees were fat and round with widely spaced limbs. Our decorations were handmade paper chains and remnants of colored balls from the past. But in our eyes it was beautiful, especially with lights. And I still see the lovely baby dolls arranged so nicely under the straggly tree, put there with deepest love for us, her children. What I'd give to have another Christmas with my mother. Like you, I remember her at Christmas which was even more special because my mother and her sister had birthdays on December 23.Like you Abby, my circle is small now. Just my sister, her husband and me to open presents under a beautifully decorated fir tree. A bitter-sweet time for sure.


  2. Hi Glenda, thank you for sharing your memories. I don't think it matters whether your tree is a pine or a fur or if your decorations are homemade or store-bought as long as you do something special to celebrate the holiday. I hope you have a good one, even if it is just the three of you.


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