Breath hangs in the icy air.
Pale sun rises with no warmth to share.
Earth too hard for life to thrive.
Water frozen little can survive.
Winter solstice, time of fear
lowest point of ever circling year.
Yet midwinter's longest night
holds the promise of midsummer's light.
Children trusting Mother Earth;
waiting for the infant sun’s rebirth.
Lie at rest within her womb;
deep in nest or hole or curtained room.
For a beat earth holds her breath
at the moment of the old year’s death.
Then at last an earlier dawn
of a brighter sun one Yuletide morn.
Now the celebrations start.
Joy and thankfulness fill every heart.
People gather, presents bring;
drinking, feasting, dancing, carolling.
Holly, ivy, mistletoe;
sacred trees, are brought within, while snow
outside may be clothing all
in a cold but soft and lovely shawl.
Bare tree branches, ermine trimmed.
Dark green leaves with frosted edges rimmed.
Mud brown fields are overnight
painted with a coat of sparkling white
Such cruel beauty humankind
can accept with an untroubled mind.
For though still held in winter’s thrall,
thoughts of spring’s return now comfort all.