Midwinter’s Night


The eve of the Yule holidays, the winter solstice, and a full moon tonight to boot (the Oak moon, if you gather that type of information). This evening I am thinking about the presence and absence of light in the world. Perhaps that’s an appropriate train of thought for this time of year, when the first day of winter implies the rebirth of the sun in the darkest and shortest days. The seeds of summer are germinated here in the shadow half of the year, and the Holly King holds sway. The great Earth Mother births the sun-child and the world rejoices. It is a time of new beginnings, a time of great thankfulness and a time for understanding the cycle of life and death, of birth and rebirth. For so many, the import of this time has been over-arched by commercialism, by stolen and usurped religious traditions, by plastic smiles and forced gift giving. I try not to wax cynical at this time of year. But it is difficult at times. As Camus once wrote, no matter what we think, the sun still warms our bones. And so I like to dwell on the promise that is winter – that the cold, dark and windy storm-filled times are necessary, that the batteries of the world are recharged so that in the spring, there is water for new growth, and the fallow land has been rested and is ready for germination.

As the earth cools, its prime axis slanted
away from the sun for its winter turn,
as the hearth fires are stoked and brightly burn,
the seeds of the coming year are planted.

This dark season teaches us of balance;
it is the time for the silver moon,
the hour of midnight that negates the noon
and in reflected glow gives us challenge:

to build in darkness new sources for light,
that feed not on angry, bitter fuel
but burn away our misery and doubt.

In this time of joy, we celebrate the night
that holds the day like a rare, precious jewel
and will, each new year at spring, let it out.

19 DEC 2002

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The Price of Freedom


That sad September in Two Thousand One
when from our eyes a veil of sleep was torn,
we in this land of truth and freedom born
were drawn to battle; now, it seems they’ve won.

For that day gave free reign the iron fist
that slumbered in the dark rooms of this land;
and in protection’s name, this evil planned
to blur the code by which this place exists.

We cannot be a true and equal shore
at which the huddled masses seek succor
if upon liberty we close the door;

If we discriminate because of faith,
or ask of others what we will not do,
we are them; America is no more.

19 DEC 2002

As a preface, I would like to say that my family has fought in every conflict this country has ever engaged in, from the French-and-Indian War to the Operation Desert Storm. We are among the Daughters of the American Revolution, an ancestor of mine was married to General McClellan (Civil War), a cousin was a Brigadier General in charge of Marine forces in Korea. The Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam … I am the descendant of a long line of pro-Americans. Both sides of my family came to this country seeking opportunity, equality and freedom. Some to escape the feudal hierarchy (from Germany in 1741), some to find relief from starvation (from Ireland in 1886), some for religious freedom (from Switzerland in 1891). This is MY country, in other words. And some of the things that we are doing, as a nation, right now, piss me off.

Like THIS (thanks to for the link): Mass Arrests of Muslims in LA

Can you say “Japanese Internment Camps”? Can you say “Indian Reservations”? Can you say “McCarthyism”? I thought you could. FUCK our perceived “manifest destiny”. We are a STUPID people, sometimes not worthy of our concept.

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
with silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
— from The New Colossus (Emma Lazarus [1849-1887])

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Entropy


The walls may rot, collapse, be crushed or fall,
but new dimensions are formed at each fold;
while these temporal illusions may pall,
our grasp will always far exceed our hold.

Brick and bone and flesh may turn to dust,
but from such chaff arises life anew;
the oxidizing properties of rust
serve to remind us payment must come due.

But is that molecule of payment lost?
Or does it simply seek another form?
Why mourn a thing that truly never dies,

but trusting evolution, pays the cost?
A tree that burns to ash, to keep us warm,
transfers energy to another guise.

19 DEC 2002

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Don Quixote


In the shadow realm of the practical,
a foolish notion often seems so grand:
and every errant knight that takes a stand
against the wind, not so intractable

that their quest for simple truth comes to nil,
believes in the reconciliation
of opposites, in true revelation
that results from trusting your own free will.

In the bright lit realm of dreams, however,
these impetuous jousts become holy,
and the poor fool’s armor, a fiery shield;

There, battle is not won by the clever,
but by the soul whose purpose is wholly
alive, and despite all, will not yield.

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