Poem – Kevin Ireland

The shortest day

It’s close to the winter solstice in these parts
though the precise moment isn’t anywhere near
the same as when our northern forebears dragged
huge stones for miles then raised them into rows
in circles to catch a shaft of light and a savant
with a tricky smile would say: ‘I told you so.’

We’re thrilled no more by miracles of prediction
or expect a baby god to be dispatched to save us
as our speck of cosmic dust floats in orbits
through a corner of a backyard of the universe.
It takes a granite ignorance and discipline
these days to get away with that one.

It’s regrettable that myths don’t work
they way they did. They used to protect us
from anarchy, despair and maverick speculation
and provide a purpose and cohesion and a comfort
to the mind. Now shortest days just come
and go without illuminations to impress us.

But nostalgia for old and other-worldy answers
still has uplifting seasonal cheer even in the south
where we must cope with being six months
out of kilter. It’s just that I’d rather stay in bed
at dawn in winter with a radio, a book, a cup of tea —
perfect modern cures for faith, anxiety and cold.

 

Kevin Ireland

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Poem
Search the archive
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages
Filter by Categories
Architecture
Art
Autobiography
Awards
Biography
Byline
Children
Comment
Contents
ebooks
Economics
Editorial
Education
Essays
Extract
Fiction
Gender
Graphic novel
Health
History
Imprints
Language
Lecture
Letters
Letters
Literature
Māori
Media
Memoir
Music
Natural History
Non-fiction
Obituaries
Opinion
Pacific
Photography
Plays
Poem
Poetry
Politics & Law
Psychology
Religion
Review
Science
Short stories
Sociology
Sport
War
YA Reviewers
Young adults
Recent issues: subscriber-only access

    Subscribe to NZ Books to access the issues above

    Search by category

    See more