“Put on your boots. Bring out your sled.

Let’s fetch our Christmas tree,” Dad said.

 “We’ll get it trimmed in first owl’s light

Before the blizzard strikes tonight.”

Dad broke the trail on powdered track.

The children followed, I in back,

And last of all there leaped the cat

With tail held high and ears pressed flat.


The Red House Wood* lay deep in snow.

 The frozen brook had ceased to flow.

And ‘gainst a sky of watered hues

Quick wind stripped clouds of muted blues.

The aged wood was still and hushed,

And in the chill no grouse was flushed.

The bare branched oaks outlined in white

Loomed ghostly-pale in softened light.


Past old stonewalls and fallen log

We crept across an icy bog,

Then traipsed uphill on steeper land

Until we reached a grand spruce stand.

 “Twas there it thrived amidst the scree,

Tapering tall, our Christmas tree!

With frosty coat o’er bluish-green

And emerald cones with tinseled sheen.


A chickadee flew off, and then

A snowshoe hare fled through the glen.

Hoof prints zigzagged ‘round the spruce,

The telltale proof of hungry moose.

In dimming dusk of coming dark,

Purr-ty Cat clawed the softwood bark.

The little loggers sawed trunk through,

The six-foot spruce fell straight and true.

While pulling sled on homeward run

The laughing moon replaced the sun,

And lit the path near pungent pines,

Fir Balsam, birch, and Hawthorn spines.

A muskiness from fox’s lair

 Clung to the nip of colder air

And mixed with fragrant oils of Ash:

A wild sachet with spicy dash.


The trimmed tree brimmed with glitter bold,

The tiny candle-lights glowed gold.

Cardboard stable beneath retold

Again the Christmas story old

With its King’s gift of frankincense,

Precious and sweet with scent intense

Like that we breathed there as we stood:

Wild perfumes from a Winter Wood.


 COPYRIGHT© 2010 Margaret Jane Jones 

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