Here in the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice happened three hours ago. In honor of the sun beginning its gradual return, here (as is traditional around these parts) are my favorite lines from Susan Cooper's poem “The Shortest Day”:

As promise wakens in the sleeping land:

They carol, feast, give thanks,

And dearly love their friends,

And hope for peace.

(Link changed again; I've dropped a note to Ms. Cooper to ask if she'd be willing to restore the poem to her website.)

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