Winter Light

Happy winter solstice! It’s a gray day in Michigan, which seems fitting for the shortest day of the year. The smattering of snow we had earlier this week is mostly gone. But even though today is the solstice, sunset has been getting later for the past couple of weeks. Starting tomorrow the day length will grow longer, but the date of the latest sunrise where I live is not until January 5. I’m happier to have the light increase sooner at the end of the day!

A recent bright spot for me was receiving Marcie Flinchum Atkins‘ present for the Holiday Poem Swap. Lucky me, Marcie gifted me a calendar with her haiku and photos, so I get to enjoy 12 poems instead of one! Here’s one of my favorite photos and haikus from her beautiful calendar (the image of the old year lifting is so perfect for the month of December.)

I have been enjoying the ring-billed gulls that huddle on our lake when the ice starts to form. They are magnificent in the early morning sun, especially as they rise as one and swirl over the ice. But today the gulls were muted, and I tried to write a haiku for them inspired by Marcie’s mist.

solstice shadows
settle on winter wings
of quiet gulls

Marcie’s words also inspired the poem that I sent to her for the gift exchange. I asked the spousal unit to xerox the pages of Marcie’s book, WAIT, REST, PAUSE (shh…who knows what copyright laws I broke. Well, the spousal unit broke at my request.) I cut and shuffled her words to find a poem. Not exactly a found poem with all my mixing and splicing–it probably should be called a ransom-note poem. It was a fun challenge to find a poem in such a tightly-written book! And if you want to admire someone’s word choice, I recommend splicing and dicing. Here’s the poem I sent:

Chanukah has come and gone. It is not a major holiday on the Jewish calendar, but it felt important to celebrate publicly this year. We lit candles over zoom with our kids for two nights, and went to our temple’s Shabbat/Chanukah celebration that included a latke competition (the winning latkes were made of beets and had a chevre/chive topping–wow! Delicious.) I also decided to revise an old Chanukah poem and sent it to The Dirigible Balloon for their winter/holiday collection. You can read it here.

Wishing you warm holidays and a light-filled new year! Be sure to visit Jone to find all this week’s Poetry Friday posts.

21 thoughts on “Winter Light

  1. Buffy, what a lovely Chanukah poem you wrote for the Dirigible Balloon this season. I love the “ransom-note” poem you created from Marcie’s book–clever and beautiful message. Hooray for yours and Marcie’s word choice too.

  2. Marcie is mad talented – thank you for sharing her gift. And you, Buffy, brilliant “ransom note” poem! “splicing and dicing” indeed! 🙂

  3. Marcie’s calendar looks amazing! I enjoyed your haiku and your “ransom-note” poem is inspiring me to attempt one! Thank you and happy holidays, Buffy!

  4. I love the “ransom note” poem form too, and all poems are terrific! I’m with you with wanting more light at the end of the day, it can’t move fast enough for me… But at least it’s coming! I enjoyed your lively moving “Colored Candles” poem! Thanks for the wonderful swan pic too. Sending more light thoughts your way, thanks for all!

  5. There’s lots of beauty in your post, Buffy! What creative gifting has happened with this winter’s swap! I especially enjoy the words for nature’s loveliness, like those ‘quiet gulls’ and becoming as chill as a chickadee! Glad that you’re far enough north to get a bit more evening light. Happy Solstice!

      1. Wait–I just realized you meant a book I wrote about 15 years ago? I thought you were talking about Force of Nature, which someone else mentioned this week. Thank you (and now I have to go back to remember what that book was all about! I think it was part of a DIY series?)

  6. I so enjoy poem swaps. When I get to see the swaps from everyone on PF it feels like a party. Buffy, my heart is breaking over the state of our world. I’m so glad you got to zoom with your kids and spent time at temple just to be in the presence of others who understand so deeply. Please do let me know which organizations you recommend that I can support to do work that you personally know are doing good. I want to support peace…but sometimes, the big array of organizations is just too much. Be well, friend. Thank you for all your words this year.

    1. I don’t know if I’m the right person to recommend the best donations that support peace, but here’s one that I found out about through our very-young-very-liberal rabbi. It’s been a tradition since I was a kid to plant trees in Israel for Tu B’shevat, the holiday that commemorates trees. You can donate to this organization to plant a tree in Israel AND in the West Bank.

  7. Good Winter Weekend to you & Yours dear Buffy!
    I feel Shivers of luv, seeing & reading your sweet reworking of talented Marcie’s book of poems.
    You always bring such uplifts of Mother Nature to mind. TY for the hills group & beaky swan.
    And more appreciations for Shabbat/Chanukah Lights to guide our Uni-Verse.
    We are One.
    Wishing you a luminous 88 days, or so, to Spring!

  8. Buffy: Thank you for this found poem and your Chanukah poem. The mist lifts, and it lifts our spirits and hopes for the new year… lovely! I hope your celebrations were hopeful and warm, and I wish you good family time, many bird sightings, and celebrations of light in the year to come.

  9. Thank you, Buffy! Your stories took me to another place, far away from the drudge and turmoil of daily life. My backyard doesn’t hold as many delights, as many secrets. Maybe I need to look closer.


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