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Every Christmas when I was a child we had to learn the usual stereotypical seasonal poems which inevitably referred to il Bambinello (Baby Jesus), angeli e pastori adoranti (adoring angels and shepherds), and pace e amore fra tutti gli uomini (peace and love between all people).
So, whilst searching the other day for an atypical Christmas poem, it was with a sense of relief that I finally found Un Abete Speciale (A Special Fir Tree), written by Gianni Rodari.
Gianni Rodari (1920-1980) was a journalist, writer and poet who wrote mostly for children. His writing, on the surface, appears simple and rhythmical, but he never indulges in facile stereotypes or banalities. Rodari likes to play with words and sounds, and has the ability to convey profound truths in the most straightforward of ways, as we see in the following lines:
Un Abete Speciale
Quest’anno mi voglio fare
A Special Fir Tree
This year I want to make