Winter Solstice

‘The Holly King’, watercolour by Kat Healy ©2023
The Year's Midnight

The flown, the fallen, 
the golden ones,
the deciduous dead, all gone
to ground, to dust, to sand,
borne on the shoulders of the wind.

Listen! They are whispering
now while the world talks,
and the idea melts,
and the seas rise.
Look at the the trees!

Every leaf-scar is a bud
expecting a future.
The earth speaks in parables.
The burning bush. The rainbow.
Promises. Promises.

~ From the anthology 'A Poem for Every Winter Day', edited by Allie Esiri, Macmillan, 2020

As Esiri comments, “Clarke’s poem is a voice from the depths of darkness, but it is one that knows that daylight will come again.”

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The Holly King

According to folklore, the winter solstice symbolises the transfer of power from the Holly King to the resting Oak King.

The two kings personify winter and summer and engage in an eternal tussle that mirrors the seasonal cycles of the year, reflecting the interplay between solar light and dark as well as the renewal of crops.

This transition of power signifies the shift from the darkest days of winter to the gradual return and promise of light.

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

- John Steinbeck

‘Candle & Wreath’, watercolour by Kat Healy ©2023


That’s all for now! Look out for one of my favourite poems coming to your inbox on Christmas Eve…

Kat x

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