Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Poem for the Solstice

This is it. This is the night. The dark tide draws back. Not much. Not far. But enough. We have been marking this moment since we were almost without words. We used our brute strength to build mighty monuments to it. Stone circles raised in hope and in reverence for the mysteries of the universe and of our lives. When food was hard to come by. When warmth was elusive. We gathered together to celebrate this turning point. From here until June, the light cascades back.  The dark will fail. The light will come. Tomorrow will be brighter, even if we are too busy to notice.

I have often wondered what it was like for those early almost-humans, and a couple of years ago, I wrote this for them. 

December, 50,000 BCE
A Poem For The Solstice

What is this?
The world has grown dark. 
Sunrise is later every morning. 
Sunset comes too soon. 
It creeps ever back into the day.
Soon it will surely crowd the morning. 
What will we do when the darkness is forever?

We listen to the sound the wind makes in the night. 
And the night is so long.
We don’t remember the warm time. 
Or if we remember, we say, “Perhaps it wasn’t real.”

The fire is all we have.
When we must go out, we take it with us.
It gives us shadows, then, but no respite from our fears.
We sleep as much as we are able. 
We eat whatever we can find.
Our dread of darkness mingles with the sadness of everything we don’t understand.
Where we came from.  Where we go.
We weep here and don’t know why.

We are attuned, stretched taut, to any change that might appear to be for the better.
So, when today gives us more light than yesterday, we rejoice.   
Light of the World.  We cry out to thee.
Our joy is spare, like a bone gnawed in hunger. 
But it is clean and bright.
It is warm.  Like something newborn.
Light of the world. 
Object of our deepest longings.
We wait in darkness. 
And our waiting is a prayer.
Light of the world.  
We pray for mercy.  For pity.  For redemption.  For any explanation.

In these days of inconsequentially less darkness,
And virtually no additional light,
We celebrate the coming of this sun.   

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