Thursday, December 22, 2022

The year's threshold

For years I wanted to be older, and now I am.
~Margaret Atwood

Happy Poetry Friday! A winter solstice poem today by Margaret Atwood, who has written many more poems that people usually suspect! Hope y'all are able to keep warm (if you're in my vicinity or one of the other cold spots). Sending love to you all, wherever you are.

by Margaret Atwood

This is the solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and becomes the future;
the place of caught breath, the door
of a vanished house left ajar.
Taking hands like children
lost in a six-dimensional
forest, we step across.
The walls of the house fold themselves down,
and the house turns
itself inside out, as a tulip does
in its last full-blown moment, and our candle
flares up and goes out, and the only common
sense that remains to us is touch,
as it will be, later, some other
century, when we will seem to each other
even less what we were.
But that trick is just to hold on
through all appearances; and so we do,
and yes, I know it’s you;
and that is what we will come to, sooner
or later, when it’s even darker
than It is now, when the snow is colder,
when it’s darkest and coldest
and candles are no longer any use to us
and the visibility is zero: Yes.
It’s still you. It’s still you.


by Mary Oliver

In winter
    all the singing is in
       the tops of the trees
          where the wind-bird

with its white eyes
    shoves and pushes
       among the branches.
          Like any of us

he wants to go to sleep,
    but he's restless—
       he has an idea,
          and slowly it unfolds

from under his beating wings
    as long as he stays awake
       But his big, round music, after all,
          is too breathy to last...

read the rest here


Live Your Poem has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Irene!


Linda Mitchell said...

Oh, my goodness...two incredible poems. What a duet you've got going on this week. Margaret Atwood just amazes me every time I read her. Her voice is so unique. "It is still you...It is still you." So beautiful. Mary Oliver. Only she can make us the wind-bird and the wind-bird us. Thanks for the beauty. Ariana's gnome is super cute!

Janice Scully said...

Both such haunting winter poems! The Atwood poem made me think about winter solstice more deeply, with words like "unlocking" and "a place of caught breath." So much I'd like to return to and think about here on this night where I live, which is cold and dark.

Linda B said...

Thanks, Tabatha, love Arianna's gnome, & Atwood's somber solstice response, especially "the place of caught breath" and that bird, beating its wings to stay awake, is that us, trying to effect change? Merry Christmas!

Irene Latham said...

I love Arianna's gnome! And I share your wonder about Margaret Atwood the Poet. Her poem "The Moment" is one I return to. xo

Patricia Franz said...

Such a beautiful pairing of poems, Tabatha. I've not been much of a solstice-noticer, till this year. And I love the line: "the still point/of the sun, its cusp and midnight" - as though we can keep still the sun! Sigh!

Mary Lee said...

Thanks for this fantastic pair of Solstice poems. I'll hold the Atwood lines in my head as I finish stitching my Solstice sun mandala!

Rose Cappelli said...

Both such beautiful poems whose phrases will continue to sing through the season. You are right, I was not familiar with Margaret Atwood's poetry, until now. Thank you.

Michelle Kogan said...

Ariana's gnome is wonderful, it has such character!!! I like Atwood's "the house turns/itself inside out", and the mixed-up mystery here! And Mary Oliver's
" of some unimaginable bird

that loves us,
that is asleep now, and silent—
that has turned itself
into snow."
Great pairing of poems Tabatha, thanks for both!
Hope you and family are keeping warm, brrr, it sure is cold here in Chicago. My husband and I went out for a quick walk. I wasn't cold I was so bundled but I think the cold made it harder to breathe–thankful for our warm home.
Merry Christmas! ⭐️🌲🦉

Bridget Magee said...

Gnome-body chooses the perfect poem pairing quite like you do, Tabatha. Warm hugs from afar. :), Bridget

Karen Edmisten said...

An inspired pairing, Tabatha. Both of these poems capture this time of year so evocatively. Love the Atwood quote too. And Ariana's gnome made me smile. :)