This longest night

A winter solstice poem

So much good arrives
at precisely the worst moments,
though we can’t see it
for the flames, for the seizure,
for the accident, for the illness,
for the unknown thing
that has befallen us.

The way, it turns out,
has been made. Has always
been made for us, even as we lose
our jobs, our minds, our beloveds,

as we see the hands of people
lifting the terrified child from the boat
just traveled over rough seas,
take in the haggard faces of those
seeking sanctuary

and the strangers who emerge
from the darkness bearing
their particular kind of light:
the cup of water, a morsel of food,
a warm blanket, bandages,
medicine for body and soul.

What we don’t see
when something is taken away
is the thing being born underneath,
the new bud on the hibernating
branch. Awash in grief, in pain,
in distress, we forget.

Just wait. Take a breath.
And another. And another.
You’re safe. You’re held.
So much good lies ahead
on this darkest day,
this longest night.
Tomorrow you’ll see
more light.


Thanks to Terri Wolf for the prompt that elicited this poem in my writing group the morning of the winter solstice and to the people who come to write with me all year long. Your generous spirits bring light during both difficult and joyous times.

Thanks to fine scenic photographer Joe Chan for allowing me to use his lovely photo. You can see more of his fine work here.

About janishaag

Writer, writing coach, editor
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5 Responses to This longest night

  1. Kara says:

    Gorgeous, Jan! Your poem brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my soul.

    • janishaag says:

      Thanks so much, Kara! This is something you know well… the bright spots in the darkness. And your family’s approach to them reminds us to look for those bright spots, those unexpected miracles that are all around. Love to you all.

  2. Bill Biza says:

    Bluegillbill March 9,2020
    Your poem is beautiful. I’ve never written anything but poems that rhyme. Your poem doesn’t rhyme, but it resounds with kindness, and hope, and beauty in a way that mine sadly do not. Thank you so much. Perhaps with prayer and practice————–

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