And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
A couple of
folks who don't blog sent me poems to light the dark ahead of time. This one, by the woods-whisperer Joyce Sidman, reminds us that furred and feathered creatures also eat and drink of the light.
Winter Solstice, At the Feeder | Joyce Sidman
and the shadows reach blue fingers
Another echo, unclad of the mists of time, came to my inbox via the Academy of American Poets. In it, Jake Adam York (go to the obituary of this suddenly, recently departed poet to wish for More Time) addresses not the literal sun, but a musician who knew himself to be of the "Angel Race" of Saturn. Reading this poem, I felt the longing many of us have, as we rush around the shopping malls and freeway interchanges, to connect with the ebb and flow of the cosmos. To see, "To get it dark enough," we "have to fold back/into the hills, into the trees."
You are not here,
you are not here
where they keep your name,
not in Elmwood's famous plots
or the monuments
of bronze or steel or the strew
of change in the fountain
where the firehoses sprayed.
In the furnaces, in the interchange sprawl
that covers Tuxedo Junction,
in the shopping malls, I think,
they've forgotten you,
the broadcast towers, the barbecues,
the statue of the Roman god,
spiculum blotting out
part of the stars.
To get it dark enough,
I have to fold back
into the hills, into the trees
where my parents
planted me, where the TV
barely reaches and I drift
with my hand on the dial
of my father's radio,
spinning, too, the tall antenna
he raised above the pines.
I have to stand at the base
of the galvanized
pole I can use as an azimuth
and plot you in.
The hunter's belt is slung again,
and you are there
in the pulse, in the light of
Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka,
all your different names,
you are there
in all the rearrangements
of the stars.
Come down now,
come down again,
like the late fall light
into the mounds along the creek,
light that soaks like a flood
to show the Cherokee sitting upright
like the fire they imply.
Come down now
into the crease the freight train
hits like a piano's hammer
and make the granite hum
Come down now
as my hand slips from the dial,
tired again of looking
for the sound of another way
to say everything.
Come down now with your diction
and your dictionary.
Come down, Uncle, come down
and help me rise.
I have forgot my wings.
April Halprin Wayland led us to the archway of the Solstice with an original poem she posted last week at Teaching Authors, her last post for 2012. It's called "Winter Solstice: Girl Talking to the Sun."
Irene Latham leads on with an original poem "First Day of Winter" that appears in her book WHAT CAME BEFORE.
More ways to see winter come from Laura Purdie Salas, who gives us a triolet of icicles to catch the glancing light.
Bridget Magee joins us from Wee Words for Wee Ones with a "Solstice Song."
Diane Mayr shares a slew of seasonal selections. At Random Noodling she has 2 original poems with two very different views of St. Lucy's Day. St. Lucy's Day originally coincided with the winter solstice. At KK's Kwotes there's a quote by A. E. Housman and at Kurious Kitty a Housman poem. It's not a celebration of the solstice, but echoes her feelings this week. And finally, at The Write Sisters, Diane has an original solstice tanka in an illustrated form.
Nonfiction expert and poet Buffy Silverman has done us the honor of writing her very first blog post ever for today's Winter Solstice celebration. She brings us the "Colored Candles" of Chanukah. Welcome, Buffy!
Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference takes us back to the beginning with a poem about the Norse goddess Freya, and, coincidentally...
Robyn Hood Black celebrates the Winter Solstice with Tabatha's "In the Great Book of Winter" at Read, Write, Howl.
Mary Lee Hahn shares an original from the Winter Poem Swap organized by the very busy Tabatha, called "Sensing the Solstice."
Amy Ludwig Vanderwater joins in with "A Candle No One Else Can See" at The Poem Farm.
Tara's offering is Mary Oliver's "The Gardener," from her new collection.
Margaret Simon is lighting the dark with some reflections.
Renee LaTulippe is playing with homophones today at No Water River, and my apologies for an oversight...Renee also has a Grinchy Christmas poem and poetry video by guest poet Penny Klostermann called "Max Mostly Moves On":
Matt Goodfellow has a poem inspired by information on the Solstice.
Iza has "Christmas Memories" from New York from us on her blog.
Violet shares a two-part poem that riffs on various aspects of Christmas.
Today Linda at TeacherDance hones in on the important things in life--a good exercise at any time of year.
More music for us at Mother Reader: Peace Love and Understanding!
Ruth is in with "Winter Stars" by Sara Teasdale. It's killing me that I don't have time to go and read these until tomorrow!
Little Willow has posted Last Answers by Carl Sandburg at Bildungsroman.
Kate's "darkness into light" poem is here at Book Aunt.
Charles Ghignawould like to help light the dark with "Present Light" at The FATHER GOOSE Blog.
Fats Suela is in today at Gathering Books with Jack Prelutsky's "I'm Wrestling with an Octopus." It's far from being a solstice poem, but definitely in keeping with the bimonthly theme "Stream of Stories and Whispering Water Tales."
Sheri Doyle is in with a poem and a song about light and dreams.
Joy has not only ornaments but poetry crafts at Poetry for Kids Joy!
Gregory K has surprised himself by posting an original poem today: Oh, Well