Yuletide

Light fades to dark, day into gray, warmth is a memory
Lost in a flurry of snow, a crust of ice on the ground.
Was summer real? Did we walk naked, sweat in the sun?
Did we seek shade, gulp ice water, squint in the glare,
Bother ourselves with color of skin or tint of tan,
Or power of flowers or equal relations of woman and man?
How right it all seemed in the summer sun, in the humid heat
Of summer’s passion, and we forgot that winter would come.
The flowers are buried under the snow, and the passion dies
With the dying sun, as the animals dig through the frozen ground,
Not for a treat but just for the means to survive the day,
And for us as for them, merely to live has become the task,
The grand crusades all left behind like fast food wrappers,
Even the litter hidden from sight by the settled snow.

And even so . . .

We don’t forget, who love the Earth and dance to Her song,
That the shortest day, the longest night, and the depths of cold
Are also the point when the promise is kept and the Sun returns.
When all is bleakest, we burn the fire and sing the songs
And drink wassail and give the gifts and the languid kiss
‘Neath the mistletoe and eat the feast, because we know
That this is the turning, the end of winter in winter’s peak.
From this day forth, the sun will grow, the night retreat,
The ice will melt and the waters run and the snow withdraw,
The flowers burst and the new shoots joy, in the ancient riddle
Of life’s beginning in the arms of death, of love’s triumph
At the peak of hate, of liberty springing from tyranny’s grip.
Take comfort in this: the victory’s won when all seems lost.
So says the promise of Spring that’s made in Winter’s heart.

 

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