A Song for the Winter Solstice

A Song for the Winter Solstice December 21, 2021

 

 

 

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave and close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, 
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

I understand that when on his deathbed, O. Henry said “Turn up the light! I don’t want to go home in the dark.” And of course there’s Dylan Thomas’ famous rant. There’s something about the dark and human beings. It probably goes all the way back. We lose control, and the monsters begin to circle. And death itself stalks the shadows.

I find it fascinating that it appears we human beings co-evolved with fire. Most importantly that had to do with food and pre-digesting and what that means for energy and the creation of our monster brains. Speaking of monsters. But, also it protected us from those other monsters out there in the night. It held off death.

So, its completely understandable how important this season is. And this day.

This season, right now, this day: the Winter Solstice.

As soon as there were religions, I have little doubt, certainly as soon as we discerned the cycles of winter and summer, we marked out this day.

And small wonder in our culture we even park the celebration of the birth of God on this day. Or, the day a not very good calendar marked out for this day.

Today.

Of course we don’t just curse the night. We turn on the light. We burn bonfires. We light candles. We sing songs. We help to turn things toward that light.

This may be the longest night.

But, tomorrow, the dawn comes…

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