It is Epiphany, and there is a quiet spot off Calderstones Park in south Liverpool where the faded trees of each Christmas are assembled for recycling. The sight of local residents dragging aged fir trees through the streets is common and draws to mind images of Wenceslas and his servant, familiar from the many beautiful paintings in Christmas cards and songbooks. This poem was written on January 6th 2015 as the trees lay waiting to be collected.


O unloved corpse
now flung on the pyre.
Once gentle Tree,
denuded of your bright raiments,
to bleed with sad anonymity
with the huddled throng.

Rank on rank
of butchered stumps,
grown sodden
where once the very sap
perfumed the air
with cold mountain scent.

Scattered vestments
of glittering tinsel
are cast as lots
for chattering magpies
to thieve from the hoar,
no more for frosted hearts to thaw.

© 2015 J A Elcock

Reproduced by permission from Come, Thule, published 2015 by The Artel Press