POETRY: The Christmas Tree by Cecil Day-Lewis

The Christmas Tree by Cecil Day-Lewis

(Cecil Day-Lewis is the father of the actor, Daniel Day-Lewis.)

Put out the lights now!
Look at the Tree, the rough tree dazzled
In oriole plumes of flame,
Tinselled with twinkling frost fire, tasselled
With stars and moons—the same
That yesterday hid in the spinney and had no fame
Till we put out the lights now.

Hard are the nights now:
The fields at moonrise turn to agate,
Shadows are cold as jet;
In dyke and furrow, in copse and faggot
The frost’s tooth is set;
And stars are the sparks whirled out by the north wind’s fret
On the flinty nights now.

So feast your eyes now
On mimic star and moon-cold bauble;
Worlds may wither unseen,
But the Christmas Tree is a tree of fable,
A phoenix in evergreen,
And the world cannot change or chill what its mysteries mean
To your hearts and eyes now.

The vision dies now
Candle by candle: the tree that embraced it
Returns to its own kind,
To be earthed again and weather as best it
May the frost and the wind.
Children, it too had its hour—you will not mind
If it lives or dies now.

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