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Dismantling Our Christmas Tree
Robert Sonkowsky






Down comes the big angel
from the very top
blowing his horn
Christ is born.
Then a veritable crop
of lacey stars and snowflakes,
glass balls of silver and gold,
glass reindeer, German, delicate, old –
don’t drop them for heaven sakes –
little angels, Santas, of felt and of wood,
items like circus seals with balls on noses –
no ancestor who bequeathed them would or could
explain their relevance, one supposes,
to Christmas. Dismantle the mantle: Wisemen, Kings,
baby Jesus; grandkids’ stockings, now empty.  
Lastly, take apart the tree,
after boxing all these things,
and fold its plastic limbs into a coffin-shaped container
as if embalmed until next year: it’s a no-brainer
that I too have lost my topmost decoration
as well as, below that, much of my ornamentation
at age eighty-one; my limbs of flesh, not plastic, await inhumation
one day, or cremation, but my dismantling, while not embalmed,
will be by my faith becalmed,
and become a new creation,
beyond political liberation,
emptied of myself, emptied of things.
© by Robert Sonkowsky.
Used with the author’s permission.

Robert Sonkowsky (1931 - 2014) was a poet, freelance actor, and classics & theater professor emeritus.  He wrote and performed poetry beginning in the second grade, when his creative teacher, Miss Malarkey, had her pupils use words from the spelling lists in poems and stories and read them aloud to the class.  Robert published two books of poetry and numerous individual poems in online and print publications. He regularly recited before the North Oaks, Minnesota Poets and Writers group.  Learn more about him here.


Post New Comment:
Great idea for a poem! Thanks for sharing.
Posted 01/14/2013 12:53 PM
I like how the poem turns at the end to be a comment on mortality. Plus, the poem has a charming music.
Posted 01/14/2013 09:32 AM
Larry Schug:
This poem is a great example of how huge the "little" moments really are and if one is thoughtful, can draw life lessons from them. We should all know there are really no "little" moments in life. Thanks, Robert. Good work.
Posted 01/14/2013 08:12 AM

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