Tuesday, December 21, 2010
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 so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
- Susan Cooper, The Shortest Day
I know that I used this poem as part of my Winter Solstice post last year but it is so perfect for the occasion that I make no apology for using it again this year.
NB The beautiful image of the Holly King is by Angela Jayne Barnett. The photograph of the sun is taken from the web but I don't know who to give the credit too unfortunately.