The Shortest Day

Winter solstice sunset

A friend posted a snippet of this poem the other day, and I loved it, and wanted to post it all here. This time of year with its mix of darkness and revelry, its hard, shiny cold and soft, welcoming warmth is always a dizzying spin of emotions, particularly when I reflect on the loss of my mother on Dec. 22, now seventeen years ago.

I think this poem, by one of my favorite childhood authors, Susan Cooper, says it all just so.

And after tomorrow, the days will get longer.

The Shortest Day

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.

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5 Responses to “The Shortest Day”

  1. Sheila Says:

    Very nice Anna. I now always think of your mother this time of year and how she lives on in you and your love for your family and life. Happy Solstice! xo

  2. Maria Says:

    Thinking of you, Anna. Beautiful poem, and I think that the ending line, that talks about promise, and goodness, and hope, also mentions that they “carol”.
    Very meaningful. Hugs to you. M

  3. Melissa Says:

    Sending you a big hug! Oh how proud your Mom would be (and is from up above) of your artistic talents, beautiful heart, and nurturing spirit. Bring on the longer days and sunny skies!

  4. Sarah B Says:

    I’m thinking about you today. Let the longer days begin! xxoo

  5. Erin Says:

    Beautiful post… thank you.

    I am so blessed to be your “neighbor!”

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