"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
….again. It’s the shortest day of the year. Tomorrow the nights start drawing out again, and the days get a little longer with each sunrise.
Is the year’s glass half full or half empty – is the longest night a moment of sorrow and blackness, or an opportunity for hours of intimacy? At any rate, it’s time for my annual act of hubris – posting John Donne’s Nocturnall Upon St Lucie’s Day along with my response to it. Donne’s is a heart-sore lament: he had recently lost his wife, and his masterful poem is a meditation on loss, absence, nothingness. Mine by contrast is in the voice of a lover rejoicing that the longest night offers hours of indulgence and togetherness.
For the pedants amongst you, who tell me each year that St Lucy’s Day is on 13th – it wasn’t when Donne wrote his poem, since we hadn’t yet switched to the Gregorian calendar. And for those who tell me the solstice is on 22nd… you may be missing the point. Light a candle, light a fire and read these two Nocturnes to brighten the evening.