Wishing all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Yule, Raucous Saturnalia, and all other celebrations of the enduring of the light at Midwinter.
|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, reveling.
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, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Tomas Tranströmer translated by Robert Bly
A blue glow
Streams out from my clothes.
A clinking tambour made of ice.
I close my eyes.
Somewhere there’s a silent world
And there is an opening
Where the dead
Are smuggled over the border.
|An Old Man's Winter Night |
All out of doors looked darkly in at him
Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,
That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.
What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze
Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.
What kept him from remembering what it was
That brought him to that creaking room was age.
He stood with barrels round him -- at a loss.
And having scared the cellar under him
In clomping there, he scared it once again
In clomping off; -- and scared the outer night,
Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar
Of trees and crack of branches, common things,
But nothing so like beating on a box.
A light he was to no one but himself
Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,
A quiet light, and then not even that.
He consigned to the moon, such as she was,
So late-arising, to the broken moon
As better than the sun in any case
For such a charge, his snow upon the roof,
His icicles along the wall to keep;
And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt
Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted,
And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept.
One aged man -- one man -- can't keep a house,
A farm, a countryside, or if he can,
It's thus he does it of a winter night.
All night I dreamed of roses,
Wild tangle by the sea,
And shadowy garden closes.
Dream-led I met with thee.
Around thee swayed the roses,
Beyond thee sang the sea;
The shadowy garden closes
Were Paradise to me.
O Love, ’mid the dream-roses
Abide to heal, to save!
The world that day discloses
Narrows to one white grave.