eucalyptus tree
Eucalyptus Christmas
by Virginia Lowe

A huge gum tree branch
propped in a corner of the room
touching the ceiling
big enough to support the actual gifts
for everyone invited to the party
Decorated with the presents, ornaments and balloons
specially, a month early, for my birthday
It was satisfying, the hanging gifts brightly wrapped
Just like Dad’s family Christmases
the exotic translated to the native

But Mother disapproved – dropped leaves, twigs
there in her best room
Besides, originating with his family
a tradition not to be continued

It only happened once
but it was glorious

PHOTO: Eucalyptus Christmas tree found on

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Somewhere there is a picture of this very tree, but I’d have no hope of finding it (in one of four cartons, but I’d need to look through them all). Anyway the poem says it better, and I’m not in the photo. It’s a long time ago – I was seven or eight. It might have been 1952.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The photo is of me with my grandchild, about 1999.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Virginia Lowe lives in Melbourne, Australia. She has been writing poetry for at least 50 years (way before computers, so a lot of it is lost). She has had poetry published in several anthologies, and is working on a collection of one poem for each year of her life, as well as a novel, when not teaching people how to write for children, especially picture books.