The Christmas Tree

Hey everyone. A poem entitled the Christmas Tree but don’t judge a poem by the title. This poem goes on more journeys in a few stanza’s than Santa on Christmas eve covering family, sectarianism, prejudice, mental health, trans issues, and what I hope is the true meaning of Christmas. I hope you enjoy the read.

The Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree
stands close to the fire
coloured baubles and lights
brighten winter nights
as storms lash my refuge
inside as well as out

winter winds chill me to the bone
as next to the tree I see
a wedding photograph of my mum and dad
in black and white
they all were in those days

looking at the photograph
I see the bigger picture
two families united
but only one represented
there is no-one from dad’s side
to show my paternal line

the line which will end with me
was very narrow
testament to the shallowness
of prejudice
at a time when even pictures were framed by bigotry
and subliminal notices which read
no catholics, dogs, or irish

this was the way of the true blue unionist
a closed world
only certain colours allowed
proud of a family they would never meet
but would listen to a Christmas speech
as if it was the word of god

I a prisoner of biological gender
never did surrender to that
meanwhile back in the flat
I give thanks all is quiet for now
and the fact I have time to write
let my thoughts run free on the page

I am aware this fragile peace
could like broken glass
shatter at any minute
my flatmate lives in a different world from me
it is not a place I want to visit
but I know I will when chaos comes calling

meanwhile I am grateful for the solitude
as a poet I call this
my thinking time
but my problem is
I think too much
I was raised an inquisitive child

I asked too many questions
according to a mother
unwilling to give
the answers I sought
why say British not Scot?
why had I not been born a girl?

now living as the woman
I always wanted to be
it breaks me to see
abandoned children on TV
knowing the mum I could have been
the loving home I could have given
but my line will end with me

In the still of the evening
I think of friends
asking those closest
to keep me in the shelter of prayers
as I look to the christmas tree
and think of a babe in a manger

@ Gayle Smith 2014

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