Maybe it’s because I was in Orkney and the Hebrides in September. Or maybe it’s because I read four Peter May novels this year with his dark, broody plots and settings. Or maybe it’s because today is Charles MacIntosh’s birthday, the brilliant chemist who is best known for his invention to protect us from the rain and cold. Or maybe it’s because the moon is hiding these nights and the days are dark and bone-chilling. Or maybe it’s because we lost so many bright lights in 2016. I’m sure it’s a combination of all of the above which have brought me to listen to this wonderful poem by Liz Lochhead over and over today. You can listen here (which I heartily recommend) and read the full text below.
In the Mid-Midwinter – Poem by Liz Lochhead
At midday on the year’s midnight
into my mind came
I saw the new moon late yestreen
wi the auld moon in her airms though, no,
there is no moon of course,
there’s nothing very much of anything to speak of
in the sky except a gey dreich greyness
rain-laden over Glasgow and today
there is the very least of even this for us to get
the light comes back
the light always comes back
and this begins tomorrow with however many minutes more of sun and serotonin.
there will be the winter moon for us to love the longest,
fat in the frosty sky among the sharpest stars,
and lines of old songs we can’t remember
why we know
or when first we heard them
will aye come back
once in a blue moon to us
bless us with their long-travelled light.