Amy Palmer

Of writing, reading and creating


The Sugar-Plum Tree

Time for this month’s WriYe Blog Circle post. The questions this month are all about poetry.

How do you feel about poetry? Do you write any? Do you see the significance of it or do you think it is a waste of time?

I’m quite fond of poetry. I disliked it for a long time, mostly thanks to GCSE English Literature lessons. I don’t know who’s in charge of choosing the poems for it, but they’re not great to start with. Then they get you to dissect them and find specific meaning and it all gets a bit… blah, in my opinion.

It wasn’t until I was leaving for University, going back over some of my childhood books, that I remembered that I once loved poetry. My Dad used to read to me from a book of poems before bed, and it was those as much as the novels we read together that encouraged my love of words and writing.

That said, I don’t write poetry. I played with it a little bit back in secondary school, but I never really had much of a flair for it. The novel is where I’m much more comfortable.

I love how condensed poems are, generally. Almost as much as I love very short stories and flash fiction. The feeling of a whole story in just a few lines is something that really speaks to me, as a reader.

Bonus: What is your favorite poem? Tell us! (Written by you or another great writer!)

I have so many that I really like. I’m quite fond of ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ by Wordsworth, it makes me think of Wales.

One of my best friends has Scottish family, and for a few years now I’ve been invited to their Burn’s night. While I love Burn’s work – this year I read ‘The Bookworms‘ – we also spent a bit of time reading William McGonnagal’s poems (often lauded as the worst poet in Scotland). If you haven’t ever seen them, look them up. They’re a gift of hilarity, if you can get through them.

However, my absolute favourite is one my Dad used to read to me when I was younger, from a large book of poems that we had. It’s called ‘The Sugar-Plum Tree’ by Eugene Field, and I’ve inserted the whole poem below.

Have you ever heard of the Sugar-Plum Tree?
‘Tis a marvel of great renown!
It blooms on the shore of the Lollypop sea
In the garden of Shut-Eye Town;
The fruit that it bears is so wondrously sweet
(As those who have tasted it say)
That good little children have only to eat
Of that fruit to be happy next day.

When you’ve got to the tree, you would have a hard time
To capture the fruit which I sing;
The tree is so tall that no person could climb
To the boughs where the sugar-plums swing!
But up in that tree sits a chocolate cat,
And a gingerbread dog prowls below –
And this is the way you contrive to get at
Those sugar-plums tempting you so:

You say but the word to that gingerbread dog
And he barks with such terrible zest
That the chocolate cat is at once all agog,
As her swelling proportions attest.
And the chocolate cat goes cavorting around
From this leafy limb unto that,
And the sugar-plums tumble, of course, to the ground –
Hurrah for that chocolate cat!

There are marshmallows, gumdrops, and peppermint canes,
With stripings of scarlet or gold,
And you carry away of the treasure that rains,
As much as your apron can hold!
So come, little child, cuddle closer to me
In your dainty white nightcap and gown,
And I’ll rock you away to that Sugar-Plum Tree
In the garden of Shut-Eye Town.

One response to “ The Sugar-Plum Tree ”

  1. Heather says:

    “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” is a favorite of mine as well. I enjoyed reading “The Sugar-Plum Tree”, so thanks for introducing me to that.

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