Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Toward the Winter Solstice

Although the roof is just a story high,
It dizzies me a little to look down.
I lariat-twirl the cord of Christmas lights
And cast it to the weeping birch’s crown;
A dowel into which I’ve screwed a hook
Enables me to reach, lift, drape, and twine
The cord among the boughs so that the bulbs
Will accent the tree’s elegant design.

Friends, passing home from work or shopping, pause
And call up commendations or critiques.
I make adjustments. Though a potpourri
Of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and Sikhs,
We all are conscious of the time of year;
We all enjoy its colorful displays
And keep some festival that mitigates
The dwindling warmth and compass of the days.

Some say that L.A. doesn’t suit the Yule,
But UPS vans now like magi make
Their present-laden rounds, while fallen leaves
Are gaily resurrected in their wake;   
The desert lifts a full moon from the east
And issues a dry Santa Ana breeze,
And valets at chic restaurants will soon
Be tending flocks of cars and SUVs.

And as the neighborhoods sink into dusk
The fan palms scattered all across town stand
More calmly prominent, and this place seems
A vast oasis in the Holy Land.
This house might be a caravansary,
The tree a kind of cordial fountainhead
Of welcome, looped and decked with necklaces
And ceintures of green, yellow, blue, and red.

Some wonder if the star of Bethlehem
Occurred when Jupiter and Saturn crossed;
It’s comforting to look up from this roof
And feel that, while all changes, nothing’s lost,
To recollect that in antiquity
The winter solstice fell in Capricorn
And that, in the Orion Nebula,
From swirling gas, new stars are being born.

-- Timothy Steele


  1. The Winter Solstice...renewal, rebirth, revitalization...more light, less dark
    Wishing you the best in the coming year!

  2. As you know we celebrate the Solstice as the Season of the Light and I wish you to walk in the Light not only during this Season but for all the Seasons to come.

  3. That image is amazing! I'm a sucker for some holiday lights, and I love that we'll have a little more light in our lives soon, too.

  4. WHow interesting to read this for me, an ex Angeleno, knowing full well the imagery that is conveyed. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. Nice modern poem with a vintage rhyme scheme. Thanks for sharing it this Solstice, Elizabeth. Wishing you more light and less dark this year. X0 N2

  6. Oh god, this one is gorgeous. From swirling gas, new stars are born. I'll be holding on to this one for a while. Thank you for bringing it into my life.

  7. beautiful poem
    beautiful photo
    beautiful you
    thank you



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