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Black Elk

On The Shortest Days

December 17th, 2015
Pierre Hanquin

Pierre Hanquin


On the Shortest Days
by Joyce Sutphen 

At almost four in the afternoon, the
wind picks up and sifts through the golden woods.

The tree trunks bronze and redden, branches
on fire in the heavy sky that flickers

with the disappearing sun. I wonder
what I owe the fading day, why I keep

my place at this dark desk by the window
measuring the force of the wind, gauging

how long a certain cloud will hold that pink
edge that even now has slipped into gray?

Quickly the lights are appearing, a lamp
in every window and nests of stars

on the rooftops. Ladders lean against the hills
and people climb, rung by rung, into the night.



3 Responses to “On The Shortest Days”

  1. What lovely words and images to describe the Winter Solstice Season. I can’t make up my mind if the images are digital or ‘real’ but nae matter – they capture the spirit, which is the main thing.
    Incidentally, if any of you are interested in the ‘real thing’ then visit Charles Tait’s website of the Winter Solstice at Maes Howe here in Orkney. He’s got 3 webcams that capture the sun setting right into the tomb; hitting the ‘altar’ stone on the back wall (Always assuming the sun is shining that day of course – I’ve been there during a blizzard in the past! However, the webcams are on until mid-February, so on a sunny day you’ll get something, if not that ‘magical moment’ on the 21st Dec. Just Google ‘Maes Howe’ which will give you the link to the website. Happy Solstice Everyone!

  2. Thank you very much William I will visit Charles’ website. It sounds absolutely amazing. Thank you Philip for the beautiful words. Wishing you all a wonderful Yule

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