Friday, December 19, 2008

Poetry Friday - Susan Cooper (b.1935)

The Shortest Day
by Susan Cooper

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.

Unbeknownst to me until a few days ago, this poem was written by children's author Susan Cooper for The Christmas Revels, an annual celebration that takes place in Cambridge, MA, each year. If you're ever in the Harvard Square area in December, I highly recommend seeing and hearing this ever-changing group of performers.

Poetry Friday is being hosted today by Author Amok. Be sure to check out my tongue-in-cheek original holiday poem, as well, at my other blog, Rockhound Place.


Lisa Jenn said...

OK, I've been wondering what book to read next, and now I know it's got to be The Dark Is Rising! I always love to read it starting Midwinter's Day and into the winter holidays.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lisa. It's become a solstice ritual for me to dip into Cooper's The Dark Is Rising (I first received the book as a Christmas gift). The scene where Will wakes to a "new" world all covered with snow! I love this Cooper series. Thanks for sharing this poem by her.

laurasalas said...

OK, this is probably heresy, and I really enjoyed this poem, but...all I could see in my head were the Whos down in Whoville singing even though the Grinch has stolen Christmas.

All day, I'm going to be singing

Fah who for-aze
Dah who dor-aze
Welcome welcome

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Have a great day!