Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winter Solstice Poem

This Friday marks the shortest day/longest night of the year, Winter Solstice. It is one of the most important holidays in my belief system (Paganism), where we celebrate the return of the sun and our faith that the winter will eventually end. In the old days, people would keep a fire lit all through that longest night, until dawn's return.
Here is a poem by one of my favorite authors. I enjoyed her Dark Is Rising series a great deal, and I think I will read them through again sometime this winter.

The Shortest Day

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, reveling.
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, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!

Susan Cooper

(image from a NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day, Winter Solstice 2007)


Don Meyer said...

Most appropriate for those of us north of the equator.

AlisonH said...

"And dearly love their friends and hope for peace." Amen.

LynnM said...

Great photo to accompany the poem. I love checking the sunrise/sunset times for December. When sunset is at its earliest, I can't see it over my back fence, but as soon as it begins to set later I can! One of the benefits of facing due west.

Deb said...

Lovely poem thanks for sharing.
Have a Wonderful Yuletide.