Louise Gluck




Solstice

Each year, on this same date, the summer solstice comes.
Consummate light: we plan for it,
the day we tell ourselves
that time is very long indeed, nearly infinite.
And in our reading and writing, preference is given
to the celebratory, the ecstatic.

There is in these rituals something apart from wonder:
there is also a kind of preening,
as though human genius had participated in these arrangements
and we found the results satisfying.

What follows the light is what precedes it:
the moment of balance, of dark equivalence.

But tonight we sit in the garden in our canvas chairs
so late into the evening—
why should we look either forward or backward?
Why should we be forced to remember:
it is in our blood, this knowledge.
Shortness of the days; darkness, coldness of winter.
It is in our blood and bones; it is in our history.
It takes genius to forget these things.