for a moment
the typewriters will stop clicking,
the wheels stop rolling
the computers desist from computing,
and a hush will fall over the city.
For an instant, in the stillness,
the chiming of the celestial spheres will be heard
as earth hangs poised
in the crystalline darkness, and then
Let there be a season
when holiness is heard, and
the splendor of living is revealed.
Stunned to stillness by beauty
we remember who we are and why we are here.
There are inexplicable mysteries.
We are not alone.
In the universe there moves a Wild One
whose gestures alter earth’s axis
In the immense darkness
everything spins with joy.
The cosmos enfolds us.
We are caught in a web of stars,
cradled in a swaying embrace,
rocked by the holy night,
babes of the universe.
Let this be the time
we wake to life,
like spring wakes, in the moment
of winter solstice.
by Rebecca Parker
A very dear friend read this poem to me under the stars on the longest night of this year, so the words landed deeply into my heart. It’s a meaningful time for me, the solstice, I connect more with this earth-gesture than the more human-originated celebrations of this month. The solstice offers that moment of pause and big perspectives both with the patterns in our solar system and with 12,000 years of human marking of this event all over the world (I enjoyed reading both this and this article about the many ways it’s celebrated in different cultures).
This year in particular I’ve experienced it as a time of hope and prayer, which I also hear in Rebecca Parker’s poem – ‘let this be the time we wake to life’, where individually and collectively we start making choices that reflect the tilt of the ‘earth’s axis towards love’. And there’s a flavour of trust in the way she describes the great web of stars where we’re cradled and rocked as ‘babes of the universe’. I feel like I need its reassurance in these dark days where our human web of connections and rituals seems both more frail and more precious than in other years.
So gratitude to theologian and United Methodist minister Rebecca Ann Parker, who has written several books as well as some beautiful poetry, for capturing this mixture of hope and trust and prayer, and for the invitation and reminder to pause in the middle of the northern hemisphere darkness…