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Poetry Friday -- The Winter Solstice
Today's the shortest day of the year, but in central Texas that isn't a wildly dramatic occurence.

The sun rose all pink and orange relatively early and my kids will spend a good portion of their first vacation day jump-roping and swinging in the backyard. It is chilly and crisp and bright.

To really get into the existential mood that is winter solstice, one needs to read poetry.
Preferably dark, lonely, sorrowful poetry.

Like, for example, this:

The Snow Man
By Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves

(read the rest

Stevens really knew how to strike the minor chord, didn't he?
I mean, even with the bright crispness of Texas I'm thinking I might have to get in the bath and have a good cry.

Ahhh, but never fear.
I wouldn't leave you like that.
Especially those of you who really are tucked up in the hinterlands, peeking out of piles of dark and snow.
Here's a little glimmer, a little gleam:

The Darkling Thrush
By Thomas Hardy

I leant upon a coppice gate
     When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
     The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
     Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
     Had sought their household fires. 

The land's sharp features seemed to be
     The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
     The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
     Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
     Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
     The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
     Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
     In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
     Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
     Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
     Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
     His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
     And I was unaware.

Okay, so you had to read all the way to the end to find it.
And the thrush was aged.
But still. Hope.
And tomorrow is a longer, brighter day.

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No, no, no! Don't say that about a snowman -- that he is "nothing himself!" (I do love Stevens, though.)

Have a safe and happy holiday!

I know, Jama. I'm fond of snowmen, too. Don't tell Stevens...
Safe and happy to you, too!


And to you, bluemalibu...

cloudscome says:

Ah but the little thrush does sing, doesn't he? And the January sun does glimmer on the ice, raising our spirits, however cold our noses. Knitting furiously over here...

Yes yes yes. Knit and hope, knit and hope...

Both are beautiful. To me, there is something terribly wonderful about the longest night also being the moment when the slow turning towards the light begins again.

I know, I totally agree.
And by the way, I LOVED your solstice poem today. You wow me...

Happy Solstice! May the Kachinas bring you many gifts!

Mary Lee
A Year of Reading

Happy Everything, Liz! Looking forward to all your writing in the new year!

Right back atcha, Robin...

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