A Christmas poem, by Liz Lochhead
“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