Donations are essential to keep Write Out Loud going    

‘A household for all creatures’: new poem for Trafalgar Square’s Christmas tree

entry picture

This year’s Trafalgar Square Christmas tree poem, ‘T is for Tree’ by Isabel Galleymore, was unveiled on Thursday evening. It draws a parallel between the tree’s role in the forest, where it provides a home for a range of wildlife, and its role in the festive tradition as a symbol of togetherness. 

The poem received its premiere at the lighting-up ceremony  in Trafalgar Square at 6pm on Thursday  at an event hosted by the Lord Mayor of Westminster. It was performed by a trio of Year-6 London schoolchildren from the local St Mary of the Angels Catholic Primary School: Alexander, Beatriz and Tilly-Jo. 

Isabel Galleymore said of the poem: “I wanted to write a poem that honoured the tree as a household for all creatures – from robins and  goldcrests to weevils and caterpillars – over the different seasons.  All trees are multi-species gatherings, but the Christmas tree is  special in that it includes us at this festive time of year.”



and the twig that holds a snail, its shell like a bauble’s 

delicate glass; 

T is for the teacup-small nest 

cast high in the trunk 

by a pair of goldcrests; 

T is for tree and its topmost branches dressed with the silver 

lights of lichen; 

T is for the trickle of squirrels  and the thin scales of each tree cone dreaming of treedom; 

T is for the tree’s timeless jukebox  playing robin song and

chaffinch chatter;

T is for the tiny tinsel of caterpillars metamorphosing

into angels;

T is for the tree which is a table serving dinner to beetle and weevil; T is for toadstools 

sprouting at the roots

where the rabbit and mouse 

discover shelter;

T is for the tree 

that draws us together. 

Isabel Galleymore


Since 2009, the Poetry Society has commissioned a new children’s poem every year as part of its Look North More Often project, inspired by the annual gift of a Christmas tree from the City of Oslo to the people of London. The tree is given as a token of gratitude for British support to Norway during the second world war. This year’s tree is a 19-metre Norwegian spruce from the Nordmarka forest.

Judith Palmer, director of the Poetry Society, said: “The Poetry Society commissions a poem every year in gratitude for the arrival of this special tree from Norway. It’s become a bit of a tradition recently to body-shame the tree because it doesn’t fit people’s Disneyfied idea of a perfect tree. We wanted this year’s poem to celebrate the unique character of the Trafalgar Square tree, recognising its magic as a genuine forest tree that has lived out under the sky through all seasons, sheltering birds and insects in its branches, and naturally decorated with beautiful lichen.  Isabel Galleymore’s poem perfectly captures this. Celebrating the abundant biodiversity of the tree’s ecosystem is a particularly important message during this week of the Cop28 summit.”

As part of its programme, the Poetry Society sent poets into schools for workshops in which children crafted their own poems inspired by the story of the tree. Poets Cassandra Parkin, Coral Rumble and Cheryl Moskowitz delivered workshops at St Edward’s primary school, St Mary of the Angels primary  school and Gateway academy in the borough of Westminster,  and Stallingborough Cof E primary school in Immingham,  Lincolnshire, where the tree arrives in the UK. More details


Picture shows Alex, Tilly, and Beatriz, year 6 pupils at St Mary of the Angels Catholic primary school Westminster, London with the Mayor of Oslo Anne Lindboe and Isabel Galleymore





◄ New poem to be unveiled at illumination of Trafalgar Square Christmas tree

Tom Sleigh and Mona Arshi to judge Troubadour prize ►

Please consider supporting us

Donations from our supporters are essential to keep Write Out Loud going


No comments posted yet.

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message