This season, I seem to have been saying the same thing over and over in different ways. I’ve posted one of these here before, but wanted to put them all together, for achiving purposes. (I’d also like to mention that the first poem came in third in a small poetry contest. (Only 18 entries, 30-some votes – but I get a prize!)

Festivals of Light

Surely darkness comprehends the light:

encircles it, surrounds, curtails its length.
In this time of longer, deeper night
the growing dark saps love and life and strength.

This is not new; with lamp oil, wax and tallow
Our mothers’ mothers long have done the same.
In winter’s shortening days when fields lay fallow
they called the sun back with a hallowed flame.

Diwali, Christmas, St. Lucia’s Day:
we light the candles, nurse each tiny spark.
Chanukah and Solstice, each a way
affirming light and life amid the dark.

So in the darkness of each dying year,
I kindle light to cast out ancient fear.

a light in winter

The year is drawing in, the winter’s near
The newscast moans of terror and despair
A hellish swirl of doubting, dread and fear.

Then as the maelstrom waters iris closed
I see a tiny light that shows the way
An answer promised, questions yet unposed.

A light – from candle, lamp or strung on tree
It kindles, bravely holding off the dark
And breathes of maybes, hopes, and cautious dreams.

I wonder, sometimes, if it’s God’s own mark,
That miracle of light, the ancient spark.

too dark to think

darkness sits in we
scrambling our
words
our worst
thinking

lost thoughts
not knowing
where / when
the light
will come

knowing
it will.

Tomorrow is December and I will keep going

Tomorrow I will get back on the erg.
That’s what I do, this time of year.
Saturday I rowed twenty-five thousand meters.
Yesterday I rowed fifteen.
Yesterday, also, I finished a challenge:
two hundred kilometers from
Thanksgiving to Christmas.
But tomorrow I will be back on the erg.

The other day my friend made lussekatter;
that’s what she does, this time of year.
This time her body would not cooperate
and the butter went flying,
all over the kitchen.
She melted more,
and kneaded and kneaded and kneaded
(because lussekatter are demanding that way).
Eventually the dough came away from the bowl
and was baked.
The kitchen was filled with saffron scent
and the house was filled the promise
of light returning.

That’s what we do, this time of year,
when the days get short
and the chores get long.
We go, and we keep going
and when we fall short
we get up, and we do what we can,
we light a candle, and we row on;
we nourish the ones we love,
and we take comfort in knowing
we’ve been through this
before.