A Favorite Poem (Issue #9)


A new poem for a new month! 🙂

While it seems that we are speeding our way to the end of the year, it is also a good idea to slow down, pause, and take a moment to reflect on things– good and bad– that have happened this year, as well as look forward to more things to come in the new year.

Considering that the holiday season is alive and swinging, I thought that I would share with you a holiday-themed poem that I first encountered in my poetry class while in college.

Simply titled “Christmas Tree,” this shape poem by James Merrill not only is proportionally structured as the said item (aka a Christmas tree), but also offers a slow, but moving reflection on the holiday season itself. What really got me was the irony of the poem, which is about the speaker’s last thoughts on his deathbed (a speaker which, in this case, can be associated with Merrill himself) during a time of life and birth.

At first, I had mixed feelings about this poem, considering that my poetry professor at the time was really promoting his own interpretation of it (a bit too gung-ho for my taste, which I didn’t appreciate). But after going back and re-reading it months later after that poetry course, I have more respect for Merrill and this particular work of his.

Just like with last month’s “A Favorite Poem” installment (which you can read here), I am displaying the poem as a JPEG image, since it is a shape poem and any adjustments to its format on this blog would mess everything up. I also do so in order to preserve and respect the original work. The image is taken from Poetry Magazine’s publication of the piece.

I hope you enjoy Merrill’s “Christmas Tree,” and I do sincerely wish all of you a wonderful, warm holiday season. Take care!

— The Finicky Cynic

Check me out on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/thefinickycynic


2 thoughts on “A Favorite Poem (Issue #9)

  1. It is an interesting piece and juxtaposition. I have to admit that when I saw the point was that it was supposed to be in the shape of a Christmas Tree I didn’t consider giving it much thought. It seemed like a novelty act. But upon reading it, I can see the parallel of the deathbed. Thank you for sharing!

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