Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Winter Solstice!

"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.
Welcome Yule!!"
- Susan Cooper, The Shortest Day

This is the third year running that I have used this poem by Susan Cooper but it is so perfect for the Winter Solstice that I'm afraid that this will probably not be its final appearance:) The beautiful illustration at the top is by Wendy Andrew from her magical book Luna Moon Hare - she has been kind enough to give me permission to use it in this post.

Today is the shortest and darkest day of the year, there is little colour in the countryside and most of the trees are bare but from this point on the days will slowly lengthen and in a few short weeks we shall see the first signs of Spring appearing. Winter is a time of slowing down and resting and if we are wise we also will use the winter to rest and reflect and renew our energy ready for the coming of Spring. A Happy and Peaceful Solstice to you all.


Penny said...

We have just celebrated the summer solstice here, but it really means months of heat so your beautiful winter solstice poem and illustrations give me heart.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

The most magical day of the year to me.
Wishing you a Happy Christmas!

Morning's Minion said...

I have lived most of my life in regions where the winter solstice ushered in the coldest quarter of the year.
The lengthening days are a blessing and a promise.

Mimi Foxmorton said...

I have this on tape somewhere.....
So very beautiful......

Thank you for sharing.

A Blessed Yule to you and yours.......


FireLight said...

I knew I could find a proper tribute to the Winter Solstice here! Thank you! The poem is the right one, to be sure.

Rosie said...

What a beautiful poem - I've just read it out loud to myself - it is so beautiful as is the illustration of the hare. Just right for this special time of year:)

Medieval Muse said...

Happy solstice to you! That poem is perfection.

MorningAJ said...

Wonderful poem. Thanks for sharing it.
Happy Yule!

(The verification word is snowsto.... how silly is that?)

Heidi said...

Wishing you a happy winter solstice! We just took a peaceful walk in our neighborhood after having dinner. It is nice to see all the lights people have out on a dark evening in December.

Hugs from Holland ~

Nan said...

It is perfect, perfect. It was always recited when we went to see The Christmas Revels.
And I always felt smug because I knew the author from reading the Dark is Rising series to my son. :<) There's quite a nice piece on her here:

George said...

A lovely poem and an interesting post, Rowan. May you and your family have a very, merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Yule blessings Rowan xxx

Von said...

Do hope to see this lovely poem again next year Rowan.Best wishes for the journey. Here of course we are going into the darkest time from now one, with all it's special qualities.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

A Blessed Solstice to you!

Roy said...

I'm afraid we won't notice too much difference in the daylight hours until the latter end of January, which is usually the case.
Merry Christmas D.

Bovey Belle said...

The wheel has turned again. What a beautiful poem to celebrate the solstice with.

Mary said...

Sending love and best wishes for the happiest Christmas and all the best for the New Year Rowan.

Hugs - Mary

Pam said...

Just popped over from Mac 'n Janet. Happy Christmas!

Dog Trot Farm said...

Happy Winter Solstice Rowan. Such strange weather here, yesterday it was in the sixties and this morning we woke to brillent white snow blanketing the earth. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Best Wishes in the New Year. Blessings, Julie