This poem got written as the result of a conversation with an eight-year-old girl, Josephine Mackinnon, about Christmas trees. She said this: "If you don't have a real tree, you don't bring the Christmas life into the house."

The Christmas Life

Bring in a tree, a young Norwegian spruce,
Bring hyacinths that rooted in the cold.
Bring winter jasmine as its buds unfold –
Bring the Christmas life into this house.

Bring red and green and gold, bring things that shine,
Bring candlesticks and music, food and wine.
Bring in your memories of Christmas past.
Bring in your tears for all that you have lost.

Bring in the shepherd boy, the ox and ass,
Bring in the stillness of an icy night,
Bring in a birth, of hope and love and light.
Bring the Christmas life into this house.

From If I Don't Know (Faber and Faber, 2001), copyright ? Wendy Cope 2001, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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