Friday, 21 December 2012

Winter Solstice

Well, it seems the world did not end at 11:11 this morning; and so I return, as every year, to this poem by my favourite living author, Susan Cooper.

The Shortest Day

And 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 now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.

― Susan Cooper

Winter sunshine on the hill behind Halsway Manor, Somerset


  1. I love the poem Abbey. I must explore some more Susan Cooper - is she The Dark is Rising? I have the series waiting in the CR but haven't hit the right moment to start reading them....

    1. Yes, Dark is Rising is the series for which she is best known. The first book [Over Sea Under Stone] in what eventually became the series was written some years earlier than the rest, and it shows, but from 'Dark is Rising' itself onwards her writing grows in strength. As DiR is set around Christmas, it might be worth reading that first, then going back to OSUS to meet the other characters who come together with the main character of DiR in 'Greenwitch', the third in the series. She's an amazing speaker, too, and her book of essays, 'Dreams and Wishes' is well worth seeking out.