It has always been spoken of
as the grave and womb of light
this most brief day
this deepest midnight
stiffened with ice and silence.
It is crucial now that there be
harbors and pools and islands
and it is necessary
that there be song
for the dead are everywhere
stricken with grief
wandering among the birds of winter
but with song they may be comforted
and Love, on this longest of nights,
requires the giving of a gift.
I wrote this poem as poet-in-residence at Actor's Theatre in Ashland Oregon, at the request of the Director, Michael O'Rourke, and added the graphic later as the two seemed particularly suited to one another. It's based on a photo I took of a full moon rising over a wash (small canyon) in the mountains of northern Nevada. It was a ridiculously difficult place to get to even with a jeep and an experienced off-road driver. Unfortunately, after a few unusually wet springs and flash flooding, I doubt access to this magical place even exists anymore.