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Santa Lucia Day, December 13

In dark December the eldest Swedish daughter
Dresses in white, lights the candles,
Glides from room to room with coffee,
Cardamom buns, the lilting song
An old tradition from an old country
Candles lighting dark.
But the story, reduced to pink-cheeked girls,
Breakfast in darkened rooms,
Does not recall the horror of that burning
Ancient saint on pyre, rejecting union to a man
She had not chosen,
Not her spirit, not her God.

Kristallnacht came in the dark, too, November nights,
Looted stores, bonfires of sacred scrolls, art, books;
Synagogues on fire. The citizens were told to look away.
And we know Charlottesville, and black churches burning,
The fires that flourish when the world is dark;
We didn't know they would burn in our time.
Not our spirit, not our God.

Which torch shall we carry?
Can I light my candle from yours?
The flame of transformation? The seeds released,
Like trees whose cones spread only in heat,
To drop the next generation on bare ground.
It is not easy. These times.
But seeds are planted in the cold, in the dark,
Solstice marks the rise of daylight
And like druids of old we can dance, holding hands.
We dance in snow, in rain, in the fleeting sun.
We carry torches of transformation,
Light our corner of this dark world,
Name our spirit, name our God.

We can sing a lilting song,
We can cry with anger and grief,
We can eat cardamom buns,
Call out hatred, this dark madness,
Find hope in small corners.
Can I light my candle from yours?
Will you light your candle from mine?
Claim our spirit, claim our God.

  

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