Day 25 – Solstice Light

We wait for the light,
that one spear of light
that will reveal it all.
What are we now?
Curled and squatting,
cramped in this narrow
space, this tight-walled
passageway. Womb,
or tomb? We crouch
between life and death,
our breath clouding,
our fingers busy, busy,
hoping for light.

Light to penetrate
this winter dark,
to seek out the carvings
spiralling around us,
to dazzle us,
our dark-widened eyes,
to show us
what we may become.

Happy Christmas. Thank you so much to all of you – poets, readers, people who made such kind comments, people who shared and re-blogged. I have enjoyed this so much, I’m so proud to share so many wonderful poems. It has been a joy.

Day 24: Pōhutukawa

On the downslope from solstice
our true December trees

are brazen, bloody-bright. You can keep
your dark, doomed pines, all smooth tradition

for the baubles – sadness-
-in-waiting beneath fake snow –

that never worked out here
on the edge. Our festive day is gaudy

with the tinsel-glare of sun, we grew up ripe
to glut ourselves on light this time

of year. The young, the old, they really crave
the exact same simple gift. And pōhutukawa,

she shows you every year how to age
shamelessly. Carried on her auntie’s back

toward the squalling new year, you’ll hear
her last dirty old laugh with your eyes

open (none of your damn grace required), flinging
all that made the new gods whisper scarlet wanton

to the hot south wind, spreading fierce
naked claim and delight. Every path,

every last road out of here, it pants
with spent red. It’s so easy

to get weighed down trying to make light
for the whole family. Oh, it’s not what you give.

It’s what you leave,
it’s how.

The Pōhutukawa is the Aotearoa New Zealand “Christmas Tree”. This poem is by Ankh Spice. I find his work extraordinarily moving.

Ankh Spice is a sea-obsessed poet from Aotearoa (New Zealand). His poetry plays with natural imagery, environmentalism, identity, myth, magic, and mental health, and insists on being written despite him. It’s surprised him continuously over the last year and a half by being published almost a hundred times, mostly in countries far away from his beloved island coastlines. Two of his poems have been nominated for Pushcarts and two others for Best of the Net. He’s a co-editor at Ice Floe Press and a poetry contributing editor at Barren Magazine, and was a guest reader for the Deep Time edition of Black Bough Poetry this year. If he’s not out running and brewing poems by the Pacific, you might find him online, talking in flat Kiwi vowels about poetry and goats, surrounded by his sea photography and macro shots of weeds and flowers.Twitter: @SeaGoatScreamsFacebook: @AnkhSpiceSeaGoatScreamsPoetrySoundcloud poetry readings: https://soundcloud.com/user-448322296 Linktree: https://linktr.ee/SeaGoatScreamsPoetry At the time of writing this, he’s working on far too many collections of poems at once, recording more audio and video readings of his work (because people bafflingly seem to enjoy them) and getting nervous about his second feature poet slot at Cheltenham Poetry Festival. He’s also attempting to write his first CNF for a solicited publication, and sitting on a couple of exciting but as-yet-secret poetry-related announcements, one for later this year and one for 2021.

Day 23: Peering into the Kitchen

It’s Christmas Eve and the kitchen is a mess
everything crusted with flour as more pastry is made
because someone has eaten all the mince pies already.

The jelly stuffed full of rum soaked sponges has finally set
providing a foundation for our Christmas Trifle
and the Christmas Cake has been iced
with red rocketships rather than holly.

Meanwhile someone is melting dark chocolate
to make a Yule Log the way Grandad used to
and not looking guilty at all.

I smile and close the door on my adult sons as
their chocolate fuelled laughter resounds in my ears.
Christmas is finally here!

I think we all know that feeling. The moment when Christmas really starts! This is from Kim.. Kim Whysall-Hammond is a Londoner living in a small country town in Southern England. An expert in obsolete telecommunications, Kim believes, against all evidence, that she is a good dancer. She has been published by Silver Birch Press, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Amaryllis, Total Eclipse, Fourth and Sycamore, London Grip and Crannóg among others. You can find her and more poetry at https://thecheesesellerswife.wordpress.com/

Winter night

Light’s spilling from the window,
warm as gingerbread,
sticky as love.
Light’s spilling from the window
and I pause here for a moment,
between the dark blue night and
the light spilling from the window,
warm as gingerbread.

In December, we triolet. Another triolet, unrhymed, unrhythmed, stretched and bent, but still recognisable.

Day 22: Remembering the Lights

Winter holds its secrets tightly bound and buried deep
in frozen ground where daffodils sleep, waiting,

I remember the light, shining bright, on those nights,
the moon’s silver midnight shimmer, glimmering

above, where candles had flamed, enframed
in windowpanes, as my heart, proclaimed

miracles happen, here and there. So stark
the season’s dark, but for the glow and gleaming

of sparkly lights and menorahs beaming, latkes, mulled wine–
symbols and signs of wonders, staying

in memory, like spring bulbs weighing when to bloom
and then do, flowering to lift winter’s gloom.

Merril D. Smith is a historian and poet who writes from southern New Jersey. She’s had poems and short fiction published recently in Black Bough Poetry, Anti-Heroin Chic, Twist in Time, Nightingale and Sparrow, and Wellington Street Review. Web site: merridsmith.com Twitter: @merril_mds Instagram: mdsmithnj

Day 21: Semi-Tropical

Window is how we frame seasons,
a pane of coolness, a sash
of leafage, we collect
ourselves in color, door
wreaths of pine and holly.

Having abandoned my place
of birth, riding the bus as far
north as it would take me,
coral, whelk and olive
in my pocket,
arriving to frozen water rigid
in broad daylight, snow everywhere.

There was no drinking away
the taste of guava, grits
or fried mullet, mangoes
and avocados populated
my dreams, a longing of sand.

Once we went to the sea
all stone and coldness,
that was winter, my blood
burned, ice filled my eyes,
words jagged as ice, gulls
mournful, wind of exile.

Returning home with the thaw,
wet season and the tilt
that flowers the great storms
out upon the waters, names
recited, catalogued by destruction.

Eventually dry season settles in,
not something to call winter,
wind off the Gulf, windows
open, the benediction of place,
amongst shell and mangrove,
where no one was waiting.

Here, Moon is always singing
of sea, we are not her children
yet are comforted, there is no
singularity in this mouth, candle
lays its flame on tongue, we seek
the shore of season, archives
of leafage, that may save us
from ourselves and the impenetrable
motion of days, waves eroding us,
a full reliquary of shell and sand,
a sea filled with our names,
great flights of migration.

Peach Delphine is a queer poet from Tampa, Florida. Infatuated with what remains of the undeveloped Gulf coast.Former cook, loves camping. Can be found on Twitter@PeachDelphine

Day 20: Dancing the Paradigm

On the cusp of Samhain,
the time when the veils between the worlds
grows thin, can you hear the Ancestors
urging us to expand our perspective
wide enough to change
the earth’s music
to a brand new song?
To breathe an evolution,
a revolution, an expansive flowering
of every good intention,
dancing the edge of
a new paradigm?
A shift is happening
on Planet Earth.
Our souls rise to meet it
with joy.

Come, let’s trip the light fantastic,
prancing and cavorting like giddy reindeer
under a waxing polar moon,
conga into winter sunshine with hopeful feathers
all aloft and glistening,
caper into the dawn, vibrant and smiling
and never so alive!

Join me. We’ll pull on the moss
like sweet little socks,
and tiptoe through the forest
like sprites, dip our tippy-toes
into the Pond of Peace,
set all our dreams alight
with the shine of sunset
over the wilding sea.

Never before,
has there been
such a winter of Possibility
as now I see.

Sherry Marr lives in Tofino, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, in Canada. Its spectacularly beautiful landscape inspires her work in her sunset years. In this poem, she is responding to the shift she feels happening, turning from the divisive and toxic rhetoric of the last few years towards our truer natures, in which we See No Other, only Us. Fork. Road. It is up to us. The Ancestors hold their breath. Sherry writes at  stardreamingwithsherrybluesky.blogspot.ca   

Day 19: At the Midden

In the week before Christmas I leave the shopping malls behind and go instead to a lonely clifftop track where ancient shells lie sun bleached on an old Aboriginal midden. Wandering along the sandy trails I hear young men hollering to each other. Walking closer to the cliffs I see they have scrambled down and are exploring the rock pools that have been exposed by the retreating tide.

I leave them to it and walk on to the midden. Not wanting to disturb the fragile remains I skirt around them and sit on a rock at the edge. It is a hot day and the light is bright. The boys have quietened down and the bush around me slumbers in the early afternoon heat. Sitting there I have a sense that people have interacted with the place for thousands of years. The scattered shells are evidence of meals eaten long ago when human life went at a slower pace – a time when people moved in harmony with the world around them. 
The frantic buzz of the consumer fest of Christmas fades from my mind and I enter a trance-like state where time is measured in breaths rather than purchases. It seems to me that I can hear a faint refrain – the gentle voice of women who had once sat here tending cooking fires while young boys clambered around the rocks collecting shell fish for a meal. 

Held in warmth, 
the past and present merging,
-heart of Gaia






This beautiful haibun comes from Suzanne Miller. She is an artist and writer living in south eastern Australia, and I find her work so evocative of the Australian landscape. She has an Honours Degree in Visual Art and a Masters in Creative Writing. These days she writes for her own pleasure and for the joy of sharing her work with others. You can read more of Suzanne’s work at her blog: https://mappinguncertainty.wordpress.com

Day 18: Ode to Dying Moon

Waning moon in an ice blue sky did you breathe a weary sigh
When frosty winter solstice moved you
As you shined your brightest light that night,
Did you hear the angel trumpets on high
Blaring Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

When you share wintry dawn with a dazzling white sun
Do you still hear sweet angelic music
And as you die your lonely death in a fading grey sky
Do the aurora clouds mourn your good-bye
Crooning Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

This beautiful poem comes from Linda Lee Lyburg, a dVerse host and a fine poet. I’m so pleased to share her work with you.

Linda Lee Lyberg is a wife, mother, artist, published poet and author. She resides in Mesa, AZ with her husband Pete (aka The Big Viking) of 24 years, and her dog, Ricky Bobby. Linda writes various forms of poetry, as well as short stories. You can read more of her works at: charmedchaos.com and purchase anthologies containing her work here: Amazon Author Page

Day 17: A Snow Day

Today the track is impassable,
a windfall of time blesses my hands.
I watch my small world unfold
in newspaper tones of ink and snow.
In the field crows squabble
over bruised stubbles of barley,
an astonishment of hares nibble at frost,
search for the spectre of spring.

Lynn Valentine lives on the Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands. Her work is widely
published and appears in places like Northwords Now, The Blue Nib and Ink, Sweat & Tears.
She had a poem commissioned by the Scottish Poetry Library this year as part of their
Champions project. She is organising her first poetry pamphlet under the mentorship of
Cinnamon Press after winning a place on their Pencil Mentoring competition for 2020.
Lynn can be found on Twitter @dizzylynn