On winter days, in wood and dene,
I love to see your leaves of green,
And hang a sprig, a magic shoot,
And kiss beneath your poison fruit.
The glory of the mistletoe,
When perched aloft and laced with snow –
Your roots in wood, and never loam,
But on whose bough have you made home ?
This noble tree, of age and might,
Now after winter’s longest night,
Is verdant still, revered with awe,
As hope for yet the coming thaw.
So stands this tree in frozen earth,
Yet evergreen, to herald birth.
Its sap e’er rising through each limb,
A share of which our pest will skim.
And so the shrub upon the branch
Brings wine and feast to winter’s blanche.
Its prey brings strength, so won’t be killed –
Like rings of growth on which to build,
And spreads afar across the sea,
Till greater yet than e’er the tree –
For now our bush has such acclaim
It proudly bears a Latin name.
But lo, the mistle buds a shoot
That like its host has taken root,
With leaching tubers digging in,
A diff’rent plant, but of its kin.
This child shall conquer half the world
With winter blooms of gold unfurled –
And incense sweet their bouquets sow,
And berries bright with stellar glow.
And yet the saps of long ago
Within this parasite still flow
So little changed, it simply thieves
Then decks them out in diff’rent leaves.
So ev’ry living thing must fight
Against all predatory blight,
For even here, we see the grow
Of yet another mistletoe.
But this one’s hued in scarlet bright,
With fur and bristles dense and white –
And though as yet too small to see
Alone, without its parent tree,
So still its roots have bitten deep,
And spreads its seeds while yet we sleep –
In just one night, their airborne ride
Shall leave them by each mantel-side.