Dan Keusal's e-newsletter
Holidays 2018 edition:
Solstice poem by Dan Keusal
Each December for some years now, I've hosted a group of dear friends in my home for a celebration of these winter holidays that go by so many names: Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, and others. We've gathered in my living room, lit only by candles and a few strands of gently blinking lights. We have gone around the circle, and each person has offered a poem, or a song, or a prayer, or engaged everyone in a brief ritual. For last year's celebration, I composed a poem. In this newsletter, as my holiday gift to you, I'm sharing that poem--both the text, and an MP3 of me reciting it for you.
In the midst of this deepening and darkening winter, may you find moments of quiet contemplation, and peace, and joy, and may all of these renew your spirit for the New Year that lies ahead.
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"Ancient Wisdom, Remembered"
(listen to a recording of Dan reciting this poem)
Each year, I try to remember, to align myself
with the silence, and the stillness, and the dark,
with ancient rhythms it took my ancestors
centuries, millennia, to begin to understand.
I try to remember because I forget:
we didn’t always know
that the light would return.
We had to face the darkness, and the fear.
We still do. I still do.
I still need to remember
to look up, and look within
and see that they are one and the same,
to see that those countless points of light,
are reflections of my own beauty, and complexity,
are reflections of the deeper, eternal stories
that play out in infinite variations through each and every soul.
But more than just need, isn’t it wisdom
to befriend the quiet, and the stars,
and to long for a blanket of white snow
to lay as counterpoint beneath the ink-dark skies?
Isn’t it wisdom to let the fields beneath the snow
and the fields of our own busy lives
lie fallow for a time, and replenish those nutrients
that only winter can bring?
Isn’t it wisdom to step out into night, and cold,
and let them in, and let them be their own form of grace,
and in doing so, to let our bodies and our souls remember
our own night and cold, and our own longing for light and warmth?
And isn’t it wisdom to gather together
to remember together, to share, and witness, and celebrate?
For in so gathering, we may find solace, and peace, and joy.
In so gathering, we may feel the light returning—in the world, in each other, and in ourselves.