Hope dawns

Day is not come.
Not quite yet:
Malignancy and malice linger still.

But this is now, at last,
The hour before the dawn
And somewhere in the dark

A throng of birds begins
To sing, full-throated; and soon their song
Will ring unchecked across the land.

Then light will flood the sky
And with it we’ll forget
The night we once believed would never end.


God bless America. The thoughts and hopes of the world are with you. Thank you. And Johnson? You’re next.

A long road

 

My bicycle has brought me
Through country lanes, quiet woods
And up a short, steep hill
To this almost-forgotten church
Where the old dead dream deep
Beneath tumbled, lichened stones
Lost in drifts of summer flowers.

And I could be content
Were it not for knowing
Even this sublime machine
Will never bear me where I truly wish:
Back through years to times when we
Had seen and lived through none of this;
All things lay up ahead, yet to be.

So I must choose: inter all hope
To moulder like these ancient worthies;
Vainly seek a road that runs
Against the flow of Time;
Or climb on, breathe deep, look ahead
And take the onward way again
To all I fear, and cannot know.

Monday blues

To hope is to believe there’s something more
Than this; a higher state worth striving for
And, longed-for long enough, will come. But I
Have seen enough of life to hear the lie
In shrill assurances of better days
Ahead. No; Fate contrives a thousand ways
To pin us where we are, whatever we
May think or do, attempt, aspire to be.
To hope is to persuade ourselves that things
Could work out as we’d want them to. Truth brings
No comfort, merely vinegars the pain
And taints the smiling dawn with threat of rain.
All I have learned in years of wishful thought
Is that we’re Fortune’s chattels, cheaply bought
And sold upon her whim. So this is it:
Where, what and how, I cannot change one bit.
I’m sorry, Hope, it’s over. Though we tried
So hard, I know that I belong beside
Your sister, dull Acceptance; plain, it’s true,
But honest. You’ll see: I’ll get over you.

 
 

Feeling a bit Monday-ish this morning. But this too shall pass. N.

Winter solstice

Image0497

 

No. Darkness shall not rule the earth.
Though woods and fields lie still and cold
This day brings promise of rebirth;
The great wheel turns, a gift foretold.

Though woods and fields lie still and cold
The road leads back to life and light.
The great wheel turns, a gift foretold;
Hope blazes in midwinter’s night.

The road leads back to life and light;
Raise fire and song – Yule has begun.
Hope blazes in midwinter’s night;
We greet the great, unconquered sun.

Raise fire and song – Yule has begun.
This day brings promise of rebirth;
We greet the great, unconquered sun.
No. Darkness shall not rule the earth.

 

Haven’t written a pantoum for ages; its measured, rather portentous pattern of repeating lines seemed just right for a poem about the rolling of the year, and the long walk back to Spring that starts at 11.11 GMT tomorrow. Can’t wait! The line that ends the third stanza, and comes second-to-last in the final one, is a reference to the Roman festival of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (‘Birthday of the Unconquered Sun’) which took place on 25 December: some claim our Christmas Day was chosen deliberately to coincide with, and thus suppplant, the old pagan rite. In much the same way, I’ve unashamedly borrowed the ancients’ lovely ringing words for my own purposes here. N.