Taking Down the Tree by Jane Kenyon

One of the best parts of the holidays is the end of the holidays 
and the silence that ensues the commercial build-up and hoopla.


"Give me some light!" cries Hamlet's 
 uncle midway through the murder
 of Gonzago. "Light! Light!" cry scattering
 courtesans. Here, as in Denmark,
 it's dark at four, and even the moon
 shines with only half a heart.

 The ornaments go down into the box:
 the silver spaniel, My Darling
 on its collar, from Mother's childhood
 in Illinois; the balsa jumping jack 
 my brother and I fought over, 
 pulling limb from limb. Mother
 drew it together again with thread
 while I watched, feeling depraved
 at the age of ten. 

 With something more than caution
 I handle them, and the lights, with their
 tin star-shaped reflectors, brought along 
 from house to house, their pasteboard
 toy suitcases increasingly flimsy.
 Tick, tick, the desiccated needles drop.

 By suppertime all that remains is the scent
 of balsam fir. If it's darkness
 we're having, let it be extravagant.

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