How I’ll Decorate My Tree

by Liz Lochhead

It was still very far from Christmas
When my momma said to me:
Tell me, Precious, what you going to hang
On our Christmas tree?

I said: the fairy-lights that Dad just fixed!
And… jewel-coloured jelly-beans from the pick’n’mix –
Oh, and from it I’ll dangle tinsel in tangles,
Sparkles, sequins and spangles,
A round golden coin (chocolate money),
That cracker joke that was actually funny.
My rosary beads – and a plastic rose
As red as Rudolph Reindeer’s nose,
The gnome that grows the tangerines,
The picture of me with my tambourine,
And (Mum’s favourite, she says)
The photo of all of us in our PJ’s –
The Ladybird Book that Lola lent me,
The blue butterfly bracelet that Brittany sent me,
The ear-ring I lost,
A pop-up Jack Frost,
A space-hopper, an everlasting gobstopper,
A pink-eyed sugar mouse,
The keys to my Grandfather’s house,
A tiny pair of trainers with silver laces,
And – now my smile is straight – gonna hang up my braces!
A marble, an angel-scrap, a star,
The very last sweetie out my Advent Calendar,
A kiss under the mistletoe,
A mitten still cracked with a crunch and a creak of snow,
That glitter scarf I finally got sick of,
A spoon with cake-mix still to lick off,
The Dove of Peace that our Darren made,
Some green thoughts in our tree’s green shade –

I’ll hang every evergreen memory
Of moments as melted and gone
As that candle that was supposed to smell
Of cinnamon –
Memories big as a house and as small ’s
The baubles I used to call ball-balls.

With pleasure I’ll treasure them
Then, on proper Christmas Day, I’ll show them all to you
Between the Queen’s Speech and Doctor Who!