Night was never so long as this
As we stand, at bay, behind our white walls
Gazing out over a cold black sea
To where the golden lights still sparkle warmly:
No wish or need to look behind us,
Certain that a brooding sky
Is bloodied now from east to west
By the glow of distant fires
While those that set them have slipped away
And those that stand in hope beside them
Feel no warmth, see only shadows;
And we who wait and watch, aghast
Are robbed of any way or will
To try to put them out.
We’ve almost reached the Winter Solstice, and the shortest day (or longest night) of the year. Normally, I’d be eagerly awaiting this moment when, slowly but surely, the daylight hours start to lengthen again; but this year, it feels as though a darkness has settled permanently over these islands, and I’m not sure what to expect or hope for in the months ahead. We are, indeed, a benighted country. N.