Almost at the Winter Solstice now - the point when the light starts to come back - but also the time of the worst winter cold. And according to the Irish weather forecast, these last few days before it are going to be rough ones, just as this poem predicts!
In the Grip of the Solstice - Marge Piercy
Feels like a train roaring into night,
the journey into fierce cold just beginning.
The ground is newly frozen, the crust
brittle and fancy with striations,
steeples and nipples we break
under our feet.
Every day we are shortchanged a bit more,
night pressing down on the afternoon
throttling it. Wan sunrise later
and later, every day trimmed
like an old candle you beg to give
an hour's more light.
Feels like hurtling into vast darkness,
the sky itself whistling of space
the black matter between stars
the red shift as the light dies,
warmth a temporary aberration,
entropy as a season.
Our ancestors understood the brute
fear that grips us as the cold
settles around us, closing in.
Light the logs in the fireplace tonight,
light the candles, first one, then two,
the full chanukiya.
Light the fire in the belly.
Eat hot soup, cabbage and beef
borscht, chicken soup, lamb
and barley, stoke the marrow.
Put down the white wine and pour
We reach for each other in our bed,
the night vaulted above us
like a cave. Night in the afternoon,
cold frosting the glass so it hurts
to touch it, only flesh still
welcoming to flesh.