Friday, December 21, 2007

The Shortest Day

This is a poem that was part of the Christmas Revels my family went to for years while I was growing up. It's by Susan Cooper, and I offer it on the solstice in the spirit of a pagan fellow-traveler.

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!!

6 comments:

susan said...

Susan Cooper of The Dark is Rising series?

This is lovely--thanks for sharing it w/ us.

Magpie said...

Cool. I'm printing it out for reading aloud.

Lo said...

Yes, Susan, same Susan Cooper.

I LOVE that poem and adapted it for our holiday card one year. My elementary school did its own version of Revels (which included Yule and Chanukah along with Christmas), which I was in, and we always read that poem.

liz said...

Welcome Yule!

(un)relaxeddad said...

I must dig that book out again. I didn't actually read it until a few years ago (finished it in the bar of the Scala in London at a God Speed You Black Emperor! gig) and enjoyed it, though wished I'd been able to hand it back to my teenage self. Solstice so passed me by this year but I'm sure my internal clock noticed.

niobe said...

I remember hearing that poem at the revels.