Friday, 21 December 2012

Winter Solstice

I am fascinated by the ways that pagan and Christian holidays are wedded so cunningly and beautifully. Before Christ, the winter solstice was celebrated, and many of the symbols we associate with Christmas were originally pagan. Unlike Cromwell and Calvin, and all those other cheerful lads, I certainly approve of this Pagan/Christian mash-up.

A few weeks back I wrote a Christmas poem, and I thought it might be appropriate for the day. I feel like the title is a little cheesy, and to be perfectly honest, I don't know how many people may have celebrated Christmas that early in Britain. But I'm taking artistic licence.

Christmas in Britain, 4th century A.D.

I feel the cold, huddled in this small church,
waiting for the light of God to hang over me
protecting me, like a thick, woolen cloak
from the biting, creeping cold
which sits like snow on my bones.

I have found warmth,
in the words of Christ. I feel my breast glow,
like that of the robin, ever fat and round, 
even in this the darkest of winters. 
Of course our Lord came at the time of the 
year when the night is black and long,
to bring light to the world.

I still sing the old songs, 
the old gods stir in my memory, 
familiar, yet newly strange, 
and stripped of their fierce
and ancient power. They prowl, still,
at the edge of the forest, 
or on the shores of the lake. 
But they, too, bow before the Son of God. 

I will light candles, I will dance 
in the firelight. I will turn my face towards the hidden morning, 
I shall delight my soul in the eternal Son. 


  1. Oh, I'm glad you posted your poem to celebrate the solstice! I love it!!

  2. How lovely! I really like that. Especially the stanza about the old gods stirring in memory. Wonderful!