The Presents Under the Tree

The Presents Under the Tree

A Story by Samuel Pennell

We are driving on Christmas Day

We drive down highways that are empty,
like veins that are drained of blood 

Highways that are bald,  
with snow gently drifting across them.

It is too cold to talk.
With mufflers and mittens,
the radio station softly murmurs,
and the cold reaches us in the car anyways

If you stopped  car and got out, 
you would freeze to death
The bright cold day would swallow you whole

The car exhales breath out of the exhaust pipe 
that is chalk white

As we wind down empty streets,
The sun in the sky is only an apology

© 2014 Samuel Pennell


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I very much like the short stanzas and the restraint in the use of adjectives; in my view, it nicely emphasizes the stark, unadorned nature of winter. My only ciriticism is that I would think about not having a one-line opening stanza, perhaps combining it with the second line so it reads "We are driving on Christmas Day, down highways that are empty..." Still, that's a pretty minor complaint with a pretty damn fine piece--and, as others have noted, that last line is a killer.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Pennell

6 Years Ago

Thank you so much! I didn't see this review until now! It looks like you were really in the groove, .. read more



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You make your story gripping and it left me at the edge of my seat. wow.. what vivid descriptions!! brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.. :)

Posted 6 Years Ago


Samuel Pennell

6 Years Ago

Haha, thank you. This poem was written about that empty feeling of driving on Christmas day, and fee.. read more
I read this again it got down here to 5 degrees ,I am a t shirt guy and a small jacket in winter but it was really cold,i mean like something is changing

Posted 6 Years Ago


0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I very much like the short stanzas and the restraint in the use of adjectives; in my view, it nicely emphasizes the stark, unadorned nature of winter. My only ciriticism is that I would think about not having a one-line opening stanza, perhaps combining it with the second line so it reads "We are driving on Christmas Day, down highways that are empty..." Still, that's a pretty minor complaint with a pretty damn fine piece--and, as others have noted, that last line is a killer.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Pennell

6 Years Ago

Thank you so much! I didn't see this review until now! It looks like you were really in the groove, .. read more
So fabulous! This is exactly how winter is (well at least here in canada) great imagery, very tense I loved it. Thanks for sharing!

Posted 6 Years Ago


You create a great contrast between the cold vacant roads, and the rising of a new light . . . dusk settles to become a new dawn. I would recommend writing from the past tense, as writing (more in prose than poetry)in the present tend to lead to the passive voice, and you end up using words such as ‘gently’ and ‘softly’ which are LY adverbs, which signal a weak verb.

If you stopped (the) car and got out, (insert).

I hope this helps some.


Posted 6 Years Ago


Oh, nice! The atmosphere is so tense I could feel it, superb xo

Posted 6 Years Ago


A grasp of the cold uninhabitable nature of winter ... in stark contrast to a helpless sun. Quite a contrast.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

You create a fantastic mental image of how winter is supposed to be! Good work on this festive poem.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

i think the contrasts are excruciating ... i know this kind of cold ... it doesnt matter the sun is out or not ... sorry i can not do my job and warm the earth .. i live in the upper midwest where snow never falls .. ever .. it is sand blasted on the sides of everything ... your simple clear description of the scene .. well .. i love it .. great stuff! norman rockwellian meets dracula ;) .. i took so many trips with my parents to this relative or that .. for this clebration or that .. i vivdly remember the mind set of not wanting to be there any more .. really enjoyed reading .. Christmas does have its down side for sure .. many suffer for others being so happy .. go figure :{
E.

Posted 6 Years Ago


Samuel Pennell

6 Years Ago

Haha. So true. Great analysis, E. I think you really nailed it here. The northern Midwest sounds pre.. read more
great descriptions and great stanza breaks. I live in the midwest and winters here are brutal so I got frozen just reading it. the ending was unexpected and I love that! It is original and simply a brilliant ending!

Posted 6 Years Ago


Samuel Pennell

6 Years Ago

Thank you so much, Patricia! I think it is fantastic that you thought the last line was brilliant. T.. read more

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Added on December 4, 2014
Last Updated on December 4, 2014

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Samuel Pennell
Samuel Pennell

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