Solstice family


June, 1989 Bill and Lavena Smith


Diane, Don, Paul, Ron and Roxanne Smith in 1989


Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night in the Northern Hemisphere.
Poets over the ages have proffered plenty of advice for the coming months.


Poet Pietro Aretino, born in the 15th century, said, “Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.”

William Blake wrote, “In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.”

There’s a Japanese proverb that says, “One kind word can warm three winter months.”

Emily Dickinson wrote, “There’s a certain Slant of light, Winter Afternoons — That oppresses, like the Heft Of Cathedral Tunes.”



Oil Painting by Judy Reynolds: Winter Harbor Field

There is a certain slant of light

On Winter Afternoons

That oppresses like the heft

of cathedral tunes

Emily Dickenson


The Skylight

by Seamus Heaney

You were the one for skylights. I opposed
Cutting into the seasoned tongue-and-groove
Of pitch pine. I liked it low and closed,
Its claustrophobic, nest-up-in-the-roof
Effect. I liked the snuff-dry feeling,
The perfect, trunk-lid fit of the old ceiling.
Under there, it was all hutch and hatch.
The blue slates kept the heat like midnight thatch.

But when the slates came off, extravagant
Sky entered and held surprise wide open.
For days I felt like an inhabitant
Of that house where the man sick of the palsy
Was lowered through the roof, had his sins forgiven,
Was healed, took up his bed and walked away.

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