Thoughts for the Season and the Winter Solstice

Keith Grant

Message 15328 · 25 Dec 1998 01:30:01 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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As things are slowing down to a slow trickle of bits across the globe, I
decided to share with the list a bit of contemplation for the dark and
season. For those in the southern hemisphere and thus far from the dark and
cold, take now what's appropriate to the holidays and view again the rest
when the sun much less you see. May all of you find and keep the warmth of
home and clan and friends held dear.



All three poems below have been drawn from materials used by the Christmas
(, a seasonal celebration of the season via music and
dance that started years back in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has spread to
performances in cities across the U.S. They contain much of what I believe
has nurtured our senses of community, humanity, and hope over the ages.


The Shortest Day

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.
Welcome Yule!

A poem written by Susan Cooper for the 1977 Christmas Revels

Adapted from the Breton song "Pez Trouz Zou ar en Doar?" by George Emlen and
Susan Cooper.

The land beside the sea lies prisoned in the snow.
Along the frozen shore, chill winds of winter blow.
Dawn creeps across the sky, but still the light is gray.
And swiftly falls the dark, until the shortest day.

But gentle comes the breeze across the western sea.
To warm the sleeping earth and waken branch and tree.
Green grow the leaves at last in sudden joyful spring.
As oak and apple bloom and all the small birds sing.

So welcome to the New Year, as the old year dies.
And winter falls away, so summer's sun may rise.
Joy fills your hearts and homes, as brightness fills the day.
And hope and love forever, drive the dark away.

The following is taken from a greeting from Fra Giovanni to a
friend in 1513 and more recently published as a notecard by Christmas

I Salute You!

There is nothing I can give you which you
have not; but there is much that, while I
cannot give, you can take.

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts
find rest in it today.
Take Heaven.

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden
in this present instant.
Take Peace.

The gloom of the world is but a shadow;
behind it, yet within our reach, is joy.
Take Joy.

And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you,
with the prayer that for you, now and forever,
the day breaks and the shadows flee away.

I Keith Eric Grant I We must remember that everything I
I <> I is ordinary and extraordinary. It I
I--------------------------------------I is our minds that either open or I
I Over the hills, but not too far away I close. Details are not good or I
I from the San Francisco East Bay I bad. They are details. -- Natalie I
I I Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones I

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