Thursday, December 14, 2017

This Time of Year - Thinking of Trees

      Diane Mayr at Random Noodling hosts us on this Poetry Friday close to Christmas and in the midst of Chanukah. Happy Holidays to all who celebrate! I met Diane at NCTE years ago, but had the pleasure of spending lots more time with her at Highlights this past October!

       I've been writing in one way each day because I've taken the challenge by Mary Lee Hahn to write haiku for the hashtag #haikuforhealing that she began last December after the Presidential election. Some days I've written to a photo, thus a haiga instead. This week I may have broken a rule or more because my response was to three pictures, the three stages of decorating my Christmas tree. 
click to enlarge
waiting,
enough? more?
ah-h-h
 Linda Baie ©All Rights

           My memories around Christmas tree decorating differ. They are funny, adventurous, even old from my childhood. It is one tradition I still keep, but without my husband, somewhat bittersweet. I remember the time we scraped our tree because we drove into the garage (HABIT) forgetting the tree (now trimmed) was on top! I remember wiring a tall tree to the wall because our cat took one look and leaped. There went the tree! I remember going through every ornament and creating a box of "their" ornaments for each of my grown children. 
          And, I remember going in a big flatbed truck into the country with a grandfather and many others to find the best tree to put up for the town where we gathered for a celebration as Santa arrived. The tree was always a large cedar and I was thrilled to go into the woods to search. However, watching the tree come down was a sad time, because the tree would no longer be there to grow. I don't remember if we read other poems too, but that is when my grandfather introduced me to this poem by e.e. cummings. This grandfather went to a local college after high school, one of those small ones where he took further studies. I don't think he graduated, just stopped to help run the family farm. 


         He was also an artist and had moved to town, farming only a little by the time I was growing up. I could say he is my "start" to the love of poetry, words, reading, writing. Yes, all of those. I'm not sure I had many personal children's books until later, but he read all kinds of things to me, some from what was called The Wonder Book, some Shakespeare, some The Wizard of Oz. He seemed to know just what I needed. I love this poem, for the sentiment and for the memory.

        And, serendipitously, when I worked at the bookstore today and helped with going through donations, one wonderful book that was given is this older Chris Raschka-illustrated book of Little Tree. It is new to me and quite wonderful as you can imagine with Raschka's color-filled pages and a sweet story about another "Little Tree". The Cummings poem is placed at the front of the book.




little tree
          e.e. cummings

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
seei will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid

lookthe spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold.
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"

             
         Wishing you peaceful and joyful times for the holidays wherever you are, whatever you celebrate.

49 comments:

  1. Oh Linda. I love your haiku - so clever in just a few words (and three photos is perfect!). And I hadn't come across Little Tree before, so am so glad you shared it.

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    1. Thanks, Sally, and I'm so glad it's new to you. It has such a sweetness about it to me.

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  2. What a joyous Holiday post, Linda! I love your remembrances and I adore this e.e. cummings poem I hadn't read before, especially "every finger shall have a ring." Happy Holidays to you and your family! Best, BJ

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    1. Thank you, B.J. So glad this is a new poem for you! Happiest of holidays to you, too!

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  3. Arghhh! Now I'm all teary. And happy-sad.

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    1. Thanks, Donna. I'm glad you "enjoyed" it!

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  4. Peace and Joy to you as well, LInda! And wow, I love your creative approach to the haiga in 3 parts... A -h-h-h indeed! xo

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    1. Thank you, and enjoy the holidays, Irene.

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  5. Great haiga, Linda! And the cummings poem--"the spangles
    that sleep all the year in a dark box
    dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,"--so sweet with remembrance.

    Loved spending time with you in PA. It seems long ago already...

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    1. Thanks, Diane, and you're right, it does seem long ago, but still great to remember!

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  6. Your grandfather sounds like a dear and talented man with a special influence on your life. Thanks for sharing your memories, and this poem, which I love to return to every year.

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    1. You're welcome, Tabatha. Yes, my grandfather was special!

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  7. "Little Tree"is one of my seasonal faves (can't resist Cummings at any time of year, actually). Love hearing about your Christmas tree memories and your grandfather, and what a cool idea to use three progressive photos for your haiga. Merriest of Christmases to you, Linda!

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    1. Thanks, Jama, glad you enjoyed it all and love the cummings poem, too, like Tabatha & others, too. It is just right!

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  8. Sweet Christmas memories. And now you're the grandma making memories for your grandchildren. This haiku should be one of their memories that lasts.

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    1. Thanks, Doraine, being a grandmother is a favorite thing!

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  9. Love this post--it feels like a wonderful meditation on trees and family, Linda! I didn't know the ee cummings poem. It's marvelous! Thanks so much for introducing me to it. Wishing you a peaceful Christmas season and a blessed new year!

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    1. So glad to share a new poem with you, Carmela, and thanks for coming by and enjoying my memories. Happy Holidays to you as well.

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  10. I love your illustrated haiku and the tree memories you share. Yes, I too, have sent on ornament boxes to children. It's wonderful to visit these ornaments on their trees! How strange that I just read cummings's poem today in a collection of his. It's lovely. These are my favorite lines:

    put up your little arms
    and i'll give them all to you to hold.
    every finger shall have its ring
    and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

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    1. I ended up having a granddaughter here today, a little bit sick, and we read it together, Joyce. We too loved that "put up your little arms". Thanks for sharing that you just read it and about your own boxes passed on.

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  11. What sweet memories. A lovely tribute. I like the ee cummings poem and your tree, as it goes up, too.

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    1. Thanks, Brenda, it was a fun post to put together.

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  12. We are waking up our sleeping spangles tomorrow, Linda. Thank you for this lovely post, full of memories. Best, Christie @ https://wonderingandwondering.wordpress.com/

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    1. I just read your post, Christie, more memories there, too. Thank you! Enjoy your tree decorating!

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  13. What a lovely poem you shared with us Linda, to go along with these wonderful memories of yours and your intro into books and poetry–such a special connection you and your grandfather shared. The poem seems to make a silhouette of a tree too. Thanks for sharing all with us!

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    1. I think if I centered the poem, it would look like a tree, Michelle. Wow! Thanks for noticing!

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  14. What a lovely poem -- so sweet and sad. Those little arms and those yearning spangles! It was fun to read your holiday remembrances, which sparked some of my own. Does everyone have a tumbling tree memory? Finally, I love your idea of a triptych haiga. Well done!

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    1. Thanks,Molly, it is fun to share the connections.

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  15. That ee cummins poem is just lovely. I enjoyed reading your past tree memories and those from your grandfather. It was the year of the falling tree that we went to artificial. We still have that same tree (maybe 15 or more years) today.

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    1. Linda, also wanted to thank you for your encouragement to send my poem about The Radium Girls to the author. I got up the nerve to tweet it to Kate Moore, and she responded and shared it! It made my day.

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    2. Fun to hear about your own 'falling' tree. I have a new artificial tree, though somehow this year, I yearned for a real one. Maybe next year! How wonderful you sent your poem. It was wonderful and I knew the author would love it. So happy for you, Kay! Thanks for telling me!

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    3. Linda, this is so beautiful! I love your little haiku, your memories, and the fabulous find in your bookstore. I've never read that e.e. cummings poem but it's a keeper (I'm going to copy and save it before I leave here). I wish you and your tree a very wonderful Christmas.

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  16. Thank you, Violet, it makes me happy that I've found a new poem for you! Yes, I'm imagining a very Merry Christmas with my tree, and all that family, too!

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  17. Keep breaking rules, Linda--love your 3 lines with 3 photos!

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  18. Thank you for your memories and the poem I can sing to our little tree to let it know that its life was not in vain!

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    1. Oh, nice to imagine you singing to your tree, Mary Lee. e.e. cummings gives good advice!

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  19. Timing is everything. And so are memories... Lovely to share yours, Linda.

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    1. Thanks, Kat, always nice to write about them!

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  20. I do love that Christmas poem, Linda - so Cummings-like in its perspective and humor. I had to laugh at your story of the cat who leaped into your tree - we had one of those, too...a story we laugh about these days but was quite the tragedy at the time (the tree took its own victims as it crashed down!).

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    1. I guess many of us with a cat have had this happen. Sarah's cats have stayed away from their tree. Glad you like the poem. It is one to have for Christmas.

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  21. I love e.e.cummings "trees". And I love your haiku!

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    1. Thank you, Jone. Have a terrific week!

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  22. Peaceful wishes to you, Linda. I may be terribly late for the Poetry Friday Roundup but my heart is in the right place. There is so much to do this holiday season and I want to savor each moment. I love the tree sequence and makes me think that I should take my digitized tree photo and create a haiku for healing because the tree brought such peace at the end of a long weekend of doing...

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    1. Thanks, Carol, I hope you find some peaceful times during this special holiday. Enjoy finding your own way to picture your tree!

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  23. Thank you for introducing me to this poem. I’m itching to make an anthology for my students. This is perfect. Peace a d joy to you, friend

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    1. You're welcome, Linda, and the same to you! I'm glad this may spark a wonderful book for the students!

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  24. Thank you, Linda, for sharing that poem. Have a Merry Christmas and enjoy that lovely tree.

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    1. You're welcome. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, too!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!