Sunday, November 30, 2014

Colored Lights Under the Dome of Dark

Things are different this year in more ways than one or even two. I piddled around most of the day, unpacking, doing laundry, catching up on email and so forth. I did a little shopping, too, mainly for the kids, and at one moment contemplated buying colored lights to hang somewhere in the house or outside. We're a white light kind of family, and there was a time when I thought colored lights were actually pretty atrocious. For some reason though, today, I couldn't take my eyes from those little globes that you see above, and I'm thinking of bucking tradition and buying a few strands. When I walked home, I realized, too, that despite the melancholy of "the season," I am looking forward to making my home look warm and welcoming, to seeing the lights in the houses and stores, to saying good-bye to this year and welcoming the next.

The great poet Mark Strand died the other day. Here's a good one of his:

Lines for Winter

Tell yourself
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
walking, hearing
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself —
inside the dome of dark
or under the cracking white
of the moon's gaze in a valley of snow.
Tonight as it gets cold
tell yourself
what you know which is nothing
but the tune your bones play
as you keep going. And you will be able
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars.
And if it happens that you cannot
go on or turn back
and you find yourself
where you will be at the end,
tell yourself
in that final flowing of cold through your limbs
that you love what you are.

Mark Strand (1934-2014)


  1. A perfect gem of a post. I've always loved colored lights. And that poem is a gift to me today. Thank you.

  2. The lights are bright, colored or white and I hope they lift your spirits. I just can't shake the unbearable sadness that seeps through your words. I hope I'm wrong. Wishing you peace and that love surrounds you -- as I know it does!

  3. Wonderful poem. I hope it is warm, colored light that is seeping through your bones tonight. Love who you are! x0 N2

  4. What a lovely, sad poem.

    Go for the colored lights Elizabeth!

  5. I am melancholy too.

    Life's too short not to buy those beautiful bulbs, right?

  6. We've made the switch to colored lights. Wil insisted. He's right. They're happier.

  7. I have always loved the colored lights.
    Thank you for the poem. It helped a bit this morning.

  8. I hope you get those lights and enjoy them all winter. Thank you for that poem, it is a keeper.

  9. Change is good, right? Yes on the colorful lights! Gorgeous poem. Sent chills down my back.

  10. i would like the multi-colored ones that have the jewel-tone colors like emerald green, gold, magenta violet, royal blue—and they should have the ability to fade in and out from one color to the next haha. still looking to find them:)
    what a great poem too

  11. Colored lights on my mind, too. I hope you get some, their glow is so much warmer than the white ones. Rhetorical question: why does a poet's death never make the news? I didn't know. A perfect choice, thank you for this. xo

  12. Wow, what a poem!

    We have a single string of colored lights that we hang on the tree -- in the years when we have a tree. I think we're going to skip it this year.



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