Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes --
Some have got broken -- and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school.
by W. H. Auden, 1907 - 1973
UNTRIMMING THE TREE
Now all that scintillation is a chore.
What they so recently assembled
Piece by piece in imitation
Of every year for twenty years ago
Each day became more everyday.
The delicate contrivances ignored,
This clutter in a corner of the eye
Now is an hour on the stepladder
And woman's work. This afternoon,
The sunlight brave and January thin
Reflecting on her, she sets down
Lightlier than they lifted them
Angel and orb and cardboard cornucopia,
The candy cane old as the eldest child.
Once she has packed away the annual farm
(Each cotton sheep plump as a thumb),
Hanging the glassy surface of the lake
Up on its hook in the back bedroom,
She sends the snowy field out to the laundry.
Arms full of a great weightlessness she arises
Toward the airless year in the black attic.
The Season's Greetings flutter in the trash
Out in the alley and the tree,
Naked, imitates mere nature.
All's done but this -- that at the last she blind
The windows of the Advent Calendar
From which next year again shall stare
The forest animals as day by day,
As the great Day approaches
Until the Manger stands revealed,
Husband and child and wife, restored
Out of the storm, once more shall be assembled.
by John N. Morris, 1931 - 1997
American author and educator [more on Morris]