Winter Solstice

Pink white salt gravel crunches under leather soles
Not for me the crunch of frost coated grass
Cracking under heavy soled boots
Not for me a frozen wind swept Tor
Or circled trees or tall stones, patch-worked
With the last of autumn moss, glinting with night ice.
No. For me on this sacred dawn there is the train
 
The sky is blotted out by streetlights
No stars to see, even the moon looks tired
As she looks down on the yellow orange glow
That turns night sky dark clarity
To jaundiced sickly yellow brown.
Out there, somewhere, other eyes see stars
And can find their place in the constellations
I find my place upon the train
 
By the window, on the side of dawn,
With hot filled flask placed to mark my spot
Bag and hat and coat and gloves and scarf
Removed and stored above my head
Book and phone to hand in case of need
I sit amidst the travellers, unknown and nameless,
Dozing, yawning, working, already working
Wireless but wired, online and off
Locked in silicon communion
 
Dawn should be halfway through this hour
Outside the sky is lightening
But I can barely see the suns warning line
From inside this bright light travelling box
Looking close to the glass
I can see shadowed fields,
Dim light reflecting back from white frost
Black green hedgerows,
Dark houses beginning to awaken
A line of lights over a road I cannot see
 
On this train there is no sense of common purpose
Unless perhaps it is to ignore and be ignored
No celebration here of dawn,
Nights end and years turn another working day
I think of other dawns, wreathed in smoke
Of wood, of sage, of cigarettes,
All mixed with clouded exhaled breath and
Steam from hand warming mugs
 
My fingers, unconscious, softly echo drums
That would be beating on the Tor, at Avebury,
At Stonehenge, at Nine Maidens, at Moonhenge,
The heartbeat of the dawn beaten out
By fingers more rhythmic than mine.
Reflected in the window I see a face
Turn and sharply frown as my fingers tap.
Brought back to here and now I stop
 
I look to the dawn, see golden light grow,
Spilling slowly over hedgerows
Winters trees, stark, glistening and lifeless
Cast long lines of shadow over
Frosted fields.
Do those trees sense that the years tide
Will soon recede, each slightly longer day
Bringing whispered promises of warm nights,
Warmer days and green life for dormant trees
 
On this train,
Passing along the edge of days first glow,
I feel the unbroken train of thought
That links where we were, to who we are
And to what we might become
Not just myself but all who look towards this dawn
Join across an ageless realm of time
With all the tribes of homo sapiens,
Who, in ages lost, looked with wonder
To the dawn and to the horizon
To the unknown world beyond
To the promise of the year ahead
 
Shadows shorten, fields lighten
Dawn makes way for morning
Unseen and unremarked
By screen locked eyes
In silence I welcome the sun
My unsaid words,
My unshared thoughts
Combined.
A silent prayer directed at the year ahead.
And a world I know too well.

Summer Solistice

First poem on this blog

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Grey trunks of long dead trees
Stand upright once again.
Found, deep in fens brackish bog,
Preserved, transformed,
Resurrected.
Rootless but held fast
Aligned with exacting care
To greet the moon,
To mark her passage
Through the year,
To shine beneath the
Touch of her cold light.

I wander between their circled ranks
The still bright setting sun
Turning this new made ancient place
Into a field of gold and shadows.
This place born from love and loss
Built in memory of a wife, an artist,
A mother, a friend, a lover.
I did not know her, but perhaps this place
Says more than words about who she was
These two concentric circles are hers
Shared with the goddess and the moon
But still more hers than theirs

Stillness wraps itself
Around these trunks
Not the still of death
Nor the quiet sounds of nature
This stillness is more contemplation.
Perhaps that of an artist or of art itself.
Perhaps this place is art.
An installation of the spirit?
Do the people gathered here,
To mark the calendars high tide,
Feel the spirit of this place?
Probably more than I

Hail and well met!
The fire is lit
The circle is made and opened,
And dead trees and living people
Mark the coming of the night together
With hopes and dreams
With silent, word-led meditation
With invocation and explanation
With belief and love and joy
Warmth of heart seeks to replace the
Dying warmth of setting sun

Later
After celebration and ceremony
After food and drink and music
After chants and drums
After almost everyone is asleep
A few of us linger around the fire
In the giant tribal lodge
To give to each other
Small pieces of ourselves,
Wrapped In words to keep them safe,
Sharing out these careful careless words
Until one of us succumbs to night.
Curled beside the embers.
We put a blanket over her
Leave her there to sleep

Outside the lodge
Midnight blue has given way
To ever lighter shades of night
Drawing slowly waking sleepers
To the heart of this wood henge.
Some dressed for early morning cool
Others wrapped in blankets
Over what they wore to sleep.

It begins
The sky now in its lightest shade,
Hides nights bright jewels
Leaving one silver pendant
To watch with indifferent calm
As a fiery replacement takes
Its place around the throat of day.

The first hint of golden sun
Begins its slow climb across
Almost unbroken blue,
Drums beat out the rhythm
Of the dawn.
The four elements are invoked
The goddess called to give her
Blessings for us all, to us all
Mothers Earth and Nature,
Watching over as the
Wheel turns once more.

It is done
The Solstice dawn is shared
Celebrated, praised
In hope that there is hope.
The circle opens once again
Before it breaks
People drift away
To eat breakfast
To clear away their tents
To rest, to sleep
To feel some peace
Even if lasts only until we wake