When summer time has come, and all
The world is in the magic thrall
Of perfumed airs that lull each sense
To fits of drowsy indolence;
Just for the joy of being there
And drinking in the summer air,
The summer sounds, and summer sights,
That set a restless mind to rights
When grief and pain and raging doubt
Of men and creeds have worn it out;
O time of rapture! time of song!
How swiftly glide thy days along
Adown the current of the years,
Above the rocks of grief and tears!
‘Tis wealth enough of joy for me
In summer time to simply be.
~Paul Laurence Dunbar from “Summertime”
Each year, on the same date, the summer solstice comes.
Consummate light: we plan for it,
the day we tell ourselves
that time is very long indeed, nearly infinite.
And in our reading and writing, preference is given
to the celebratory, the ecstatic.
What follows the light is what precedes it:
the moment of balance, of dark equivalence.
But tonight we sit in the garden in our canvas chairs
so late into the evening –
why should we look either forward or backwards?
Why should we be forced to remember:
it is in our blood, this knowledge.
Shortness of the days; darkness, coldness of winter.
It is in our blood and bones; it is in our history.
It takes a genius to forget these things.
~Louise Glück from “Solstice”
I stand, wavering in a balance
of light and shadow~
this knowledge of what’s to come next
rests deep in my bones.
I’ve been here before,
so grateful for the sun’s return.
I will not forget this gift of Light,
as darkness begins to claim the days again.
He promised to never let darkness
overwhelm the world again.
I believe Him,
on this longest day,
and even more so,
in the midst of the longest night.