Saturday, 6 February 2016

Independent Celebrant | Readings and Poetry | Poems for Winter

 We have just passed "Imbolc" which marks the very beginning of Spring according to Celtic and Pagan calendars. Within the Christian church, this festival is known as Candlemas. Snowdrops and candles are linked to this day and I always try to have a posy of snowdrops by my desk and a lit candle in the window.

Winter is on its way out, so today I have hidden myself away from the wild wind and rain and enjoyed looking through my books to find some examples of poetry.


I love these last lines of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem:

                  Frost at Midnight

Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,

Whether the summer clothe the general earth

With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing

Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch

Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch

Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall

Heard only in the trances of the blast,

Or if the secret ministry of frost

Shall hang them up in silent icicles,

Quietly shining to the quiet Moon

The poem was written for Coleridge's son Hartley. In it he hopes baby Hartley will become a 'Child of Nature', so this would make a lovely reading for a Naming Ceremony.

Still on the subject of new life at the turn of the year, this poem was written by an expectant mother, just before the birth of her first child.

             Last days before the Beginning

  I am fat and tight as a lilac bud.

  I am waiting

  Still and quiet as a bulb in the dark earth.

  Soon all Spring will be

  pushing, bursting, blossoming forth.

  As for now

  I like to watch for the early flowers

  The slim, frail snowdrops give me courage

  That I too will be brave when my time comes.

  It's hard to imagine a new life inside me

  But as the poet says:

  " Nothing is certain, only the certain Spring."

I will finish with a four line poem by one of my favourite poets, Edward Thomas. It is simple and captures perfectly the elusive changing of the seasons:


  Over the land freckled with snow half-thawed

  The speculating rooks at their nests cawed

  And saw from elm-tops, delicate as flowers of grass,

  What we below could not see, Winter pass.




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