Kelly DeMaegd, Shortest Day Longest Night

Kelly DeMaegd

Unlike people of ancient times
we are not afraid when winter solstice
descends. We do not fear starvation
or slaughter herds in preparation
for famine months to come.

No, we continue on as always,
train for marathons, drink wine in the evenings,
make love to our spouses. And some of us,
die in our sleep at fifty-one.

Unlike people of ancient times
we are not afraid when the earth tilts
farther from the sun. We do not cover
doorposts with butter, purify women
with ritual baths, perform the spiral dance
to mark the sun’s victory over darkness.

No, we plan memorial services,
share food, music, anecdotes.
And some of us find sorrow too hard to bear.
We mourn alone while others do holiday
shopping, and when afternoon slips into evening
we drive to the same barn where we held
our brother’s memorial, we take
a handful of pills and end our own life.

Author’s Comment: I wrote this poem after learning of a neighbor’s sudden death and the subsequent suicide of his brother. These events occurred during the winter months compelling me to explore the cultural symbolism of the winter solstice as well as how the descent into darkness can result in fear and despair.

Bio: Kelly DeMaegd is a newly retired corporate executive currently living in Sherrills Ford, North Carolina with her husband. Her interests now are focused on gardening, mixed media collage and writing poetry. “Longest Night” is her first published poem.


7 thoughts on “Kelly DeMaegd, Shortest Day Longest Night

  1. Soulful, it made me think of how precious and fragile we all are. You keep it real, as always Kelly. Thanks for sharing and keep them coming.

  2. Kelly, interesting idea on how twenty-first century humans may not be as far removed from soltice effects as we like to think.

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