Did you know that tonight will be the longest night and tomorrow the shortest day, the Winter Solstice? That means there will only be a few hours of daylight and a whole lot of darkness to endure. If you’re anything like me you’ll be pulling a sad face and groaning at that news, so this month I made it my mission to find some gorgeous words and pictures to help GHBers cope with this darkest time of the year.
Make the most of those precious few hours tomorrow. With any luck they will be as pretty as this picture, perhaps with a rather delicious sunset thrown in. Here’s what Robert Lois Stevenson had to say in his poem ‘Winter-time’.
Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.
And the cold weather can make the world look rather magical as Evaleen Stein describes in her poem The Frosted Pane.
When I wakened, very early,
All my window-pane was pearly
With a sparkling little picture traced in lines of shining white;
Some magician with a gleaming
Frosty brush, while I was dreaming,
Must have come and by the starlight worked through all the quiet night.
He had painted frosty people,
And a frosty church and steeple,
And a frosty bridge and river tumbling over frosty rocks;
Frosty mountain peaks that glimmered,
And fine frosty ferns that shimmered,
And a frosty little pasture full of frosty little flocks.
Remember that mid-winter gives you an excuse to behave like a kid…
… or to stop inside in the warm in your PJs and slob out! The poet Roger McGough summed this up brilliantly in his poem ‘The Cat in Me’.
Gazing out as snowflakes continue to fall
The child in me sees the icing on the cake
where the lawn used to be…
…The cat in me
stretches and settles in front of the fire.
(Seek out the rest of this poem. It’s really cool.)
There are some great songs written about this time of year too, so when you’re curled up on the sofa (maybe with someone you love) you might listen to some of these (or write your own).
The fire still burns at night
The memories are warm and clear
But everybody knows
It’s hard to be alone this time of year
From A Winter’s Tale by The Moody Blues
But look around, leaves are brown
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter
From A Hazy Shade of Winter by Simon and Grafunkel
Dark days allow you to eat more too (especially next week!). After all, it’s cold outside and your body needs all those chocolates, mince pies and cakes to keep warm, right?
And, of course once the Winter Solstice has passed the days will keep getting longer until the buds and green shoots of spring appear, as John Keats reminds us.
Too happy, happy tree,
Thy branches ne’er remember
Their green felicity:
The north cannot undo them,
With a sleety whistle through them;
Nor frozen thawings glue them
From budding at the prime.
Do you have any favourite mid-winter poems or song lyrics? Or perhaps the Solstice has inspired you to write something yourself.