Journeying around the sun,
at Yule, she turns furthest from the light.
Here In the dark of the long night she is veiled,
and here she comes to the fullness of her union with creation.
To enter is to hold Death closest to our hearts.
And as we do, Death has her sensuous way.
Slowly, we come to a clearing, and the solstice.
And in deep stillness, we enter.
Our journey from the sun has come to its full,
and we wait in a rare quality of quietness.
Time is no more.
Here in this place, we gently slip into the emptiness, and depth of the void,
and bathe in the energies of creation.
when we are cleansed, and fully drunken from the cup,
she continues on her journey around, and we edge back closer to the light.
slipping out through her veils in birth, we are new, and journeying to the sun.
A LEAF FROM THE TREE OF SONGS
When harpers once in wooden hall
A shining chord would strike
Their songs like arrows pierced the soul
Of great and low alike
Aglow by hearth and candleflame
From burning branch ot ember
The mist of all their music sang
As if to ask in wonder
Is there a moment quite as keen
Or memory as bright
As light and fire and music (sweet)
To warm the winter's night?
AN OLD MAN'S WINTER NIGHT
All out of doors looked darkly in at him
Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,
That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.
What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze
Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.
What kept him from remembering what it was
That brought him to that creaking room was age.
He stood with barrels round him -- at a loss.
And having scared the cellar under him
In clomping there, he scared it once again
In clomping off; -- and scared the outer night,
Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar
Of trees and crack of branches, common things,
But nothing so like beating on a box.
A light he was to no one but himself
Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,
A quiet light, and then not even that.
He consigned to the moon, such as she was,
So late-arising, to the broken moon
As better than the sun in any case
For such a charge, his snow upon the roof,
His icicles along the wall to keep;
And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt
Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted,
And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept.
One aged man -- one man -- can't keep a house,
A farm, a countryside, or if he can,
It's thus he does it of a winter night.
Before going to bed
After a fall of snow
I look out on the field
Shining there in the moonlight
So calm, untouched and white
Snow silence fills my head
After I leave the window.
Hours later near dawn
When I look down again
The whole landscape has changed
The perfect surface gone
Criss-crossed and written on
Where the wild creatures ranged
While the moon rose and shone.
Why did my dog not bark?
Why did I hear no sound
There on the snow-locked ground
In the tumultuous dark?
How much can come, how much can go
When the December moon is bright,
What worlds of play we'll never know
Sleeping away the cold white night
After a fall of snow.
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.