Owl hoots three times in the far woods,
fair warning for all small creatures
scurrying to their burrows.
Are we not still and always
those crouching figures
who flee the heavenly alchemy?
Three times in the crackling air,
Owl hoots for us.
Wind plays the drums of snow...
crescendo off the roofs,
flourish of shuddering branches.
Ice snaps its castanets,
Atonal music of the darkest days
needs the most fearless,
Those strumming flamenco
fingers of sunlight
are a long time away from now.
Now we go comforted
in dreams and ceremonies,
flaming our star-speck candles,
raising our voices against that other music,
drowning out the forever
at night’s heart.
Look up! The wheel is turning.
The spectacular crowd of stars,
the tangle of dimensions
jostle for our attention.
Salute the birth of everything holy.
"At the Winter Solstice" by Dolores Stewart Riccio, from Doors to the Universe: Poems (Bellowing Ark Press, 2008; no bookseller link available). Text presented here as posted on Beyond the Fields We Know.
Art credit: "Pleiades Star Cluster (NGC 1432/35)," photograph by Hubble Space Telescope.