(A Christmas Circular Letter)

THE CITY had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods-the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I’d hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine,
I said, “There aren’t enough to be worth while.”
“I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over.”

“You could look.
But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.”
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.”
I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north.
He said, “A thousand.”

“A thousand Christmas trees!-at what apiece?”

He felt some need of softening that to me:
“A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.”

Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter.
I can’t help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.

Analysis, meaning and summary of the poem by

11 Comments

  1. John says:

    I understood the poem rite away the theme was so obvious that i had to go through it a coupke times before i realized that that was the actual underlying meaning well im out c ya

  2. Eva Vereschagin says:

    We own a swath of property which has been called,” BIG BUSH ” for generations in Northern Saskatchewan, Canada. We bought these properties because of the beautiful expanse of pine trees,water and wildlife, we will be building a home overlooking all these pines & lakes and will retire here. Last week we watched as a man took his young son out of their vehicle, opened our gate,which had a sign on it stating, “No Trespassing” , walked across our property with axe in hand, went up to one of our lovely pine trees and set about chopping it down! He had his son drag our tree out across our property, out our gate and load it into their van… no permission was given to this man to do this! We were shocked at the lack of morals he is
    showing & teaching his young son and the brazen theft he committed before our eyes. He cut down and stole one of our most beautiful trees from our FRONT YARD! We ourselves DON’T even cut a tree down to decorate at Christmas – we beleive that trees are our air and have a place in this world like all else. Our daughters have instituted a rule that if we or if we were to let someone cut down a tree then they MUST plant 2 in its place. I guess we need to find this thief and have him plan 2 trees in spring.

    I read this poem by, Robert Frost to mean, that, he would rather GIVE away a tree to friends and family and say “Merry Christmas” when he gives them to them than sell them to uncaring people for 3 cents each!

  3. Susan says:

    Tears came to my eyes at the thought of selling one’s precious trees, but what thoughtfulness to want to share with friends the trees’ beauty by including a tree in each letter.

  4. Robert says:

    I read this to my class and everyone made fun of me and threw hotdogs at me

  5. damian says:

    this is a good poem

  6. Anna says:

    I picked this poem to read for a prestentation in my drama class and like everyone thought that it was pretty boring. Like it took forever to read. Although when I read it like 4 or 5 times I could understand the meaning to it. (analyzation)

  7. Alexa Hanley says:

    it’s cool but i think you need more practice

  8. Thomas William Ose says:

    I once told a friend that there is no such tning as an ugly Christmas Tree and now I firmly believe that statement. Whether in your home, garden, the woods, or a tree farm they will warm ones heart with a bueaty that reminds one the meaning of this season of peace, joy, and glad tidings. Upon reading Frost’s poem “Christmas Trees” I too wish I could send a tree to my friends and family in thier Christmas card, maybe I will send just a needle or to with hopes that thier oder will fill the card and then one’s senses upon opening.

  9. laura says:

    omg frost si like fantabulous
    like seriously!
    but i havta say,
    my bf’s poems for moi are way- more fantastic
    but frost’s poems are like a-mazing like omg
    well anywayz luv everyone who reads this
    with a kiss and a hug i’m out like thiss

  10. kate says:

    I read this to my children every year as Christmas approaches.(we have an illustrated version) It takes a few readings to unravel the sense in the sentences. The farmer’s connection to his land is strengthened by his realization that he values his young evergreens differently from the city man who places a dollar value on them. The poem ends charmingly with the writer wishing he could slip a Christmas tree into each letter he is sending to his friends.

  11. Jack says:

    Muy, Muy,bien

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