In the declining days of December the brevity of daylight is deeply drawn.
On clear, bright mornings there is the hour of golden splendour,
horizontal shafts gilding all in radiating wakefulness
while achingly long shadows draw and cling to the night
with gripping, frosted fingers reluctant to lose their hold.
On days with a coverlet of cloud, starchy from northern persuasion
the countryside is held by its bejewelled captor,
bathed in coolest pastel
each blade of grass sheathed in glittering diamond.
The sun’s short journey to its zenith
sees birds and smaller mammals
working to encapsulate a long-day’s harvest
in eight, short purposeful hours.
Gather a crop to last the night, ensure continued warmth
for the long, deep night ahead.
All too soon the creeping shadows come to claim their own.
First, the colours of day are coated in shadows of palest blue,
lilac turns to deepest grey as clear vision becomes unlatched
when winter’s dusk lives its brief encounter.
While we earthbound mortals bathe in the electric glow
there is a night of sharpest clarity stretching clear to infinity,
past stars pulsating in the earth’s deceptive warmth.
Those same enigmatic, distant points that gazed
with the same impassive brilliance above our distant ancestors,
gave joy in their deep, inscrutable beauty,
turning in their slow arc of deliberation
towards another winter’s day.
17 December 2003. 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Half moon, waning. Dry, fine, clear.