The city had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods—the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I’d hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine, I said,
“There aren’t enough to be worth while.”
“I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over.”
“You could look.
But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.”
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.”
I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north. He said, “A thousand.”
“A thousand Christmas trees!—at what apiece?”
He felt some need of softening that to me:
“A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.”
Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter.
I can’t help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.
The title seems to imply a holiday theme or something to do with a forest of sorts.
The city had distanced itself greatly and left the land to the country; When between the whirls of snow hadn't come to lie and whirls of leaves hadn't yet fell, there went a man, stranger, into our yard, who looked like the city, yet he did in a country fashion in there he sat and waiting, drawing us out us buttoning our coats to ask him who he was. He revealed himself as the city, come again to look for something lost to it and could not have its Christmas without it. He asked if I would sell him my Christmas trees; My trees, the youthful fir balsams, like a place where every house is a church and has a spire. I'd never thought of them as Christmas trees. I doubt if I was tempted for even a minute to sell the off their feet, to go away in cars and leave the slope behind the house empty, where the sun shines no warmer than the moon now, I'd hate to have them know if I was. Yet I'd hate even more to hold my trees except as others hold theirs, or refuse for them, beyond the time for profitable growth, the trial by market that everything must come to in the end. I lingered so much with the thought of selling. Then whether or not from mistaken courtesy and the fear of seeming short of speech, or whether from hope of hearing good of what was once mine, I said, "There aren't enough trees to be worth while," "Soon I could tell you how many they'll cut. You let me look them over." "You could look. But don't expect I'm going to let you have them." Pasture they spring in, some in clumps that are too close that trim each other of limbs, but not a few quite solitary and having equal limbs all round and round. The latter he nodded to, or he paused to say beneath one that was lovelier, with a buyer's calmness, "That'll do." I'd thought so too, but I wasn't there to say it. We climbed the pasture to the south, crossing over, and as we came down on the north, he said, "A thousand." "A thousand trees?! How much apiece?" He felt the need to soften that to me: "A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars." Then I was certain that I had never meant to let him have them. Never show them surprise! But thirty dollars seemed so little beside the extent of the pasture I would strip, three cents (For this was what they figured out for each), Three cents seems so small I should be writing within the hour. It would pay cities for good trees like those regular trees like whole Sunday Schools could hang enough to pick off enough, Thousands of Christmas trees I didn't know I had! Worth three cents more to me to give away, than sell, as it is shown by a simple calculation. Too bad I couldn't lay one into a letter. I can't help wishing to send you one, in wishing you a Merry Christmas.
In the beginning of the poem, you first notice how the author uses words that describe a winter setting, and implies that the city has become quiet, saying that it has "withdrawn into itself". The next thing that the author draws attention to is the man, who is implied to be a personification of the city, entering the narrator's yard, drawing out the narrator's family. The city is then said to be looking for something that it cannot have Christmas without, which is later revealed to be a Christmas tree. The narrator speaks of the trees as very dear to his heart and refers to them as churches, meaning that they are almost holy to him. After the narrator and the man talk, he comes to the conclusion that he will buy 1,000 trees, which shocks the narrator, as he was unaware that he had that many. They come to a price of thirty dollars for the trees, which gives the reader the impression that this takes place in the distant past, as they refer to the $30 as a great amount of money. The money comes out as three cents per tree, which the narrator remarks how it doesn't sound like much, which disproves our theory about where the poem takes place. As the poem closes out, we see the narrator saying out he wishes he could've sent the city a tree in a letter, to wish a Merry Christmas. This tells the reader how the narrator refused to sell the trees to the city.
The attitude of the poem gives the feel of walking into a bank or a place that heavily relies on money. This is evidenced by the discussion of the sale between the two men being so tense and when the price is decided on, the narrator begins having second thoughts after saying that he would instantly refuse the offer.
A shift in the tone occurs when the city offers the price for the trees, this is evidenced by the narrator becoming visibly upset or nervous. I believe the author did this shift because he intended for the narrator to be taken aback by the price, and wanted the dialogue to reflect this.
Now I believe that the title represents how the narrator built up his life, away from the city and when the city came to buy his Christmas trees it's tour down all of his life's work of the trees which represents his house away from modern life.
I believe the theme of this poem is that no matter what the city can always come in and tear down someone who lives in the country is life's work and just pay them some money and expect it all to go away.