A Solstice Poem

Part of Mayan Calendar
  • The Sun Holds Its Breath
  • Day after shrinking day the angel of death
  • Hovers kite-like, the dark around its eyes
  • Waxing larger than the new moon, nearing,
  • A black hole with wings. Soon 
  • It will rip off my head, blind vole that I am.
  • I deserve no better. I do not rage, rage
  • Against the dying of the light. I raise my arms
  • I welcome its talons like a lover
  • I am the male black widow spider
  • My little death is duplicated large. 
  • Why should I live when so much else is dying?
  • Each day heralds new harvests of cadavers
  • Starve now, you, while crops rot in fields,
  • Drink poison, you, while water goes fracking
  • Freeze in tents, you, while condos stand vacant
  • Let your children be torn from your arms, you
  • Race where you can to flee our bombs, you
  • Choose, you, either food or medications
  • Sweat and run, you, to make assholes richer,
  • Hide if you can, you, from thugs in suits
  • Salute, you, this pigsty called government
  • Look away, look away from the death of the earth.
  • Why then does the sun hold its breath?
  • It ought to turn away in shame and revulsion,
  • It ought to erupt and go nuclear
  • Vomit coronal mass ejections
  • Obliterate this planet gone so wrong
  • Be done with it.  Basta così. And yet
  • It stands still.  Sol static. It hesitates. 
  • Spoiler alert.  We know what comes next. 
  • The Mayans knew it.  The Egyptians, Chinese, 
  • Civilizations north and south, now dark to us,
  • In times when stars hung closer than grapes
  • Sharp eyes notched stones and built calendars
  • And they knew, they knew that the light returns.
  • Yes, solstice means the comeback of the light
  • A second chance for the undeserving truant
  • Forgiveness for the shit-smeared molester
  • Welcome back for the prodigal thief, arsonist, and murderer. 
  • With a grace that far surpasses all divinities,
  • The sun comes back.  
  • Is there greater cause for celebration? Is there bug
  • Or leaf or bird or stone or baby or drop of water 
  • That does not owe its being to the sun?  Is there king
  • Or president or boss or capo greater than the sun?
  • Is there drug or drink or food or medicine, 
  • Is there gas or oil or any of the elements,
  • On which we lay our hands without the sun? 
  • Our puny celebrations, our candles, our LEDs,
  • Our sparklers and pyrotechnics are faint flattery.
  • We make up fairy tales of kings and babies,
  • Of forts and oil lamps, we do Saturnalia, 
  • Makara Sankranti, Yalda, Dongzhi, Yuzuyu,
  • Ayan Parivartan, Alban Arthan, Brumalia, Korochun, 
  • Sanghamitta, Shalako, Christmas, and Ziemassvetki.
  • So many pretty ornaments, so many lies, 
  • Told to divert our gaze from the unseeable
  • Burning blinding disk of the sun. Yet the sun
  • And its return is the only truth in all these fables.
  • After Solstice, the sun unfreezes, it makes up its mind,
  • It laces its boots and begins a new pathway. 
  • Little by little, the daylight lingers, the dusk retreats.
  • A rosy light spreads over this charred dystopia
  • Rekindles hope in tired hearts,
  • Inch by inch, we see the furrows that await us
  • and the plowing to be done.  
  • — Martin Nicolaus
  • December 20 2019

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2 thoughts on “A Solstice Poem

  • Pingback: Virtual Solstice

  • December 21, 2019 at 12:23 am

    Solstice poem is wonderous, mindbending heartbreaking and hopeful.

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