Monday, December 21, 2009


Working on a poetic collage of sorts for this first day of winter:

gloom of this sunless winter morning
amaterusa, the sun has gone into a cave
& must be tricked to look out
light mirroring blinding light
the beginnings of a return
between darkness & dawn
a remembrance of the dead
(my mother died near Christmas
snowing at the funeral
then a shaft of sunlight
through clouds)
it is not the distance from the sun but the angle
maximum 23 degrees latitude
26 degrees longitude
standing still, if only for an instant
when darkness triumphs
if only for an instant
(if only in Northern latitudes)
circles of standing stone
they are for eternity
a day of reversals
“today when freeman fawns on slave—“
said Kallimachos
when the god is torn apart by his maddened followers
water into wine
a new shoot sprouts
delicate leaves
Dies natalis solis invictus
a day for Christmas shopping
only 4 shopping days left
at the birth of winter
earth turns
toward summer

With a little help from Wikipedia. Amaterusa is a Japanese festival for the solstice. Other relevant ones included are the Greel Linaea, the Roman Saturnalia and Sol invictus (the victory of the sun). Kallimachos is a poet from the 2nd century BC in Alexandria. It is from the fragments of his Aetia, a long poem in elegiac metrics about the origins of certain rites and practices. The translation is my own.

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