Solstice pilgrim

This, then, is her solstice pilgrimage,
this six monthly walk, down this too long corridor,
ticking off letters, – M is for Women’s Health,
P is for Medical Photography
Q is for X-ray and Imaging.

She’s here in the long days of summer,
when the windows are open in this small room,
letting in voices and slow moving air,

and again in the short dark winter days
when there’s not enough light to spare,
not enough warmth to go around –

stripped of power, clothing, efficacy –
she has a name-tag in her bag, out there
she’s someone, here she repeats her name,
address, date of birth at each desk –

Open Sesame

– and she’s touched gently, probed by soft, kind hands,
that press and smooth her skin,
searching for the death that bubbles under it.

 

And there you go – Day 26 of Jilly’s 28 days of unreason challenge. I’m going to make a confession now: I haven’t read any Jim Harrison apart from the quotations put up here. I will, but I wanted to do this challenge without any preconceptions about his work, and just take each quotation on its own terms. It’s been a great series of prompts. I can’t believe we only have two to go. 

And here’s the quotation:

“There is a human wildness held beneath the skin that finds all barriers brutishly unbearable”   from Songs of Unreason

 

I’m also linking it up to tonight’s dVerse prompt – opposites attract, posted by Lillian. She asks us to write a poem including some opposites as contrasts. I’ve used the two solstices here.

Solstice storm

They bring the weather with them –
wild winds that flutter home-made pennants,
set lanterns rocking, shadows leaping
up canvas walls and wooden pallisades –

they sing out loud, gathering in loose groups
and drinking sun-gold cider, moonlight vodka –
tell stories round the dancing flames
of midnight fires: their stories –
tales that shift and change
with every telling, forging their own myths.

They’re gathering here before the solstice,
a ragged caravan of feathers, flapping, black;
of russet coats and cool green gazing;
of blues and yellows, splashing monochrome,
dark masks, striped faces, brown eyes
blinking in the light. A mustering of

muddy feet and velvet coats. Silk scarves
and dirty claws, and silver rings.

They bring the weather with them,
call up the wind, send cloud wolves
rioting across the sky,
wait for the sun to rise.

Day 25 of Jilly’s 28 Days of Unreason project. A whole month of poems inspired by quotations from Jim Harrison’s work. 

“A violent windstorm the night before the solstice”. from Solstice Litany

 

Solstice

 

“We are all suns”

you said – “Burning

to live, burning to die”.

 

We light candles.

What else can we do?

 

These short days

leave us scrabbling

for light, longing

for the world to tilt,

to throw the sun

a little higher in the sky.

 

We light candles,

burn fires, seek warmth:

there’s an ancient forest

surging through

the house,

all that sunlight stored

in deep darkness, waiting

for us, for millenia.

 

We burn to live.

We burn to die.

 

A rather late solstice poem. Maybe it just works as a winter poem? 

 

Advent 21

 

 

img courtesy ~ http://www.megandowntherabbithole.com/

 

Come The Light

this parabolic transit arcs to a still-point

a reflective moment

among cycles of time

we watch for the return of the sun

or the son perhaps?

either way there is hope

a glimmer

an ember

a spark

long buried in the heart of winter’s icy repose

this pregnant darkness

 

and it was always so

 

the Holly King’s demise

seeding future birth

we must be devoured in darkness

before being born to the light

the crone is glancing over her shoulder now

the scent of the maiden comes slowly

but inexorably

the wheel turns

 

from our Earthed North

held deep in Gaia’s bosom

borne East on the wind

breath of life

South into the fire of transformation

and then West to the healing waters

 

Mistletoe strikes at the heart of all of our Baldour’s

fills us with deep foreboding and dread

but we know he will come again

reborn vital and full of joy

 

so it is

 

embrace the darkness

fill your cup with soulful gratitude

look to that which sustains you

speak a blessing for family

for friends

for nature herself

and drink to the coming light

 

Written for Sarah’s advent calendar of poems.

A huge Thank You to Megan Manske at downtherabbithole for the use of her beautiful Winter Solstice Mandala.

Please visit her amazing site. Not too late for that last minute Christmas/Solstice gift right?

Thank you so much to Paul who scribbles here: https://paulscribbles.wordpress.com/ He’s got a direct line to the dark gods, I think.