Poetry Sunday: The Shortest Day

This poem pays homage to the traditions of Winter Solstice, the time when the old year ends and the new year begins - never mind what our calendars say. It happens today at 5:03 P.M. CST.

As the days have gotten shorter and shorter and grayer and grayer in recent weeks, we've looked toward this day, the demarcation of seasons. Tomorrow the day will be just a little bit longer and a little bit lighter and for that fact we rejoice, knowing that, if winter comes, spring cannot be far behind.

The Shortest Day
Susan Cooper
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.
Welcome Yule!


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