Winter Solstice by Polly Oliver at

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice

written by: Polly Oliver



The shadowy ones hauling the Henges upright knew:
As they measured stone for death and wood for life
Against circling stars pinned to the spheres,
That the longest dark is womb to the light.

In this snow-deadened morning the weeping sun
Bleeds into the frozen arms of sky.
Tree fingers grope the mist
That persists in stifling sound and sight-
Clinging to the sleeping ground
Long past the low and feeble zenith
That drops meek and swift to the rim of night.

This morning the world sobs under the weight
Of hate. Children have old eyes.
But fractional tilt with the day’s dying,
And we look a breath longer under shy lashes
At our star that burns itself alive
To warm us.

Our days in the sun are numbered;
We won’t wait for the rays of June to stir
Our blood, but stoke our own fires
To become the winter light.

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