The Shortest Day

Posted by Susan Cooper on Tuesday, November 24, 2015

 

Below is Susan Cooper’s poem “The Shortest Day,” written originally for The Christmas Revels in celebration of the winter solstice.

There is a version both printed and on the internet with a mistake in it, so we are posting this to be sure that the many people who share this poem have the right words and punctuation. Please use the poem for non-commercial purposes, and follow copyright guidelines. You can direct permissions questions to susancooper@thelostland.com. Thank you!

THE SHORTEST DAY

By Susan Cooper

Copyright Susan Cooper 1974

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 so do we, here, now,

This year, and every year.

Welcome Yule!

#58 Ring Out Wild Bells

 

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild, wild sky,
the flying cloud, the frosty light:
the year is dying in the night;
ring out, wild bells, and let it die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
ring, happy bells, across the snow:
the year is going, let it go;
ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
for those that here we see no more;
ring out the feud of rich and poor;
ring in redress to humankind.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
the civic slander and the spite;
ring in the love of truth and right;
ring in the common love of good.

NOTES

http://farfringe.com/stlt58-ring-out-wild-bells/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_Out,_Wild_Bells

LISTEN

 

One Song

Every war and every conflict
between human beings has happened
because of some disagreement about names.

It is such an unnecessary foolishness,
because just beyond the arguing
there is a long table of companionship
set and waiting for us to sit down.

What is praised is one, so the praise is one too,
many jugs being poured into a huge basin.
All religions, all this singing, one song.

The differences are just illusion and vanity.
Sunlight looks a little different
on this wall than it does on that wall
and a lot different on this other one,
but it is still the same light.

We have borrowed these clothes,
these time-and-space personalities,
from a light, and when we praise,
we are pouring them back in.

Rumi

For Weddings And Funerals (Dead Man’s Bones)

Song: “Dead Man’s Bones”
Album: Dead Man’s Bones, 2009
Artist: Dead Man’s Bones

Dig a hole,
in the middle of the street.
Dig it down,
Six feet deep.

You should know,
that the world was built on bones.
Dressed in their best clothes,
there are rows and rows and rows,

Of dead man’s bones!
I’m talkin’ ’bout dead man’s bones!
Wherever you go,
take a look at your feet,
and down six feet deep
there’s dead man’s bones!

Bones! Bones! Bones, bones, bones, bones!

Dig ’em up,
Take ’em home
They’ve been livin’
Six feet deep!

You should know,
that the world was built on bones.
Take a look at your feet,
and down six feet deep
there’s dead man’s bones!

In the basement!
In the schoolhouse!
In the pavement!
In the water!
It’s a sound, (underground!)
there’s a sound! (underground!)
Six feet deep!

You should know,
that the world was built on bones.

Wherever you go,
take a look at your feet
down six feet deep
there’s dead man’s bones!
Bones! Bones! Bones, bones, bones, bones!

LISTEN