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: Linktree: 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

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: 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   

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: 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

Day 17: Advent for Mad Sweeney


Coldest now up this tree,
shagged by ice and wind
and haled by high moonlight.
Halcyon, yes, if you’re dead.
Or leaning that way, re-learning
Advent in the bittering slog
of freezing winter nights.

Below and beyond I see
warm lights, chimneys billowing
fire-smoke and children caroling
house to house their Christ.

How I miss those cloistered
enclosures where a man
was everything he said
and a sword’s amen
counted for everything
in the pile of heads.
The mead and the feasting,
the white breasts of the maid,
all festively enveloped in
songs for the King.

Christmastide beckons
to all that’s lost inside:
But not so tonight
for this man of the mound,
exiled by the new God
to a cold aerie’s cross
far from hearth of
a welcoming mind.

Here where the wind
bleeds stars onto branches
and the wolf howls Jesu
I’m wild and keening,
ditch-delved by frost.

My Advent locks its step
with Infurin’s dead host.
Chanting in starlight
the charm of the lost.

Thank you to Brendan for this poem, one of a series of poems exploring the mythology of Mad Sweeney. If you’re wondering: Infurin, is a Celtic otherworld known as the Land Beneath the North. Brendan lives in Florida USA. By day he is an editor and husband, in deep of night he scribes the Otherworld. Brendan is the creative the force behind the earthweal project Poetry of a changing Earth. The grief is real – so is the hope.

Day 16: Wintertide

is here again:
solstice festival
by choral singing
carols ringing
through the starlit streets
except for this time.

This bleak midwinter
all the streets shall fall
silent and all the carols
we must carry in our hearts;
gone are the jolly Christmas suppers,
the wintertime tree-branches
down to their bare bones.

Take heart:
draw a deep breath
and spare a thought
for all you have,
for those who live alone;
alone we enter this world
so they say, alone
we make our exit,
yet the miracle may be
to find ourselves
this wintertide
embraced by lovingkindness

Thank you to Ingrid for this covid Christmas poem.

Ingrid writes poetry, short fiction and journals at She has had her poetry published in several anthologies, and also by Spillwords Press, Free Verse Revolution and Secret Attic.

She enjoys collaborating with other writers and encouraging poetic creativity with her EIF Poetry Challenge, which she hosts fortnightly at Experiments in Fiction.