A Christmas poem, by Liz Lochhead

The Herald Magazine - - CONTENTS -


“These are the short­ened days and the end­less nights.” – Carol Ann Duffy, from Mean Time (1993)

Gloomy De­cem­ber. The dol­drum days of the dead of win­ter. These are the short­est days and the end­less nights. So wish for the moon and long for the light.

Chill winds. Re­lent­less rain. Dark to go to work in, dark­ness home again. But, given just one fine day of sun and sharp, clean frost, our lost, maybe long lost Faith -- if for noth­ing more than the year’s turn­ing -comes back like the light comes back. A prom­ise in our bleak mid­win­ter yearn­ing once in a rare and clear blue noon if we wish for the moon.

Till then, the light’s soul and spirit is locked in its ab­sence and our long­ing for it.

Whether you be­lieve, with the Magi, in their mir­a­cle – Three Kings bow down low be­fore the Child of Light – or whether we think them Wise Men on a fool’s er­rand, their gifts use­less, mag­nif­i­cent, pre­cious, who came fol­low­ing one star and its fal­ter­ing gleam­ing till they came to the place, it was a brave as well as a cold com­ing. Yes. And whether it was a refugee waif or the Saviour that was born, whether some shep­herds on the night-shift saw an­gels, or a me­teor storm …

Be­lieve in the light’s soul and spirit that’s in its ab­sence and our long­ing for it.

For Tommy Smith, Kurt Elling, the Scot­tish Na­tional Jazz Orchestra and their Spirit of Light project, De­cem­ber 2017

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