It’s officially the beginning of The Season. This year, I’m challenging myself to write a piece of prose poetry for each of the days leading up to Christmas. This is week four — for days one through six, start here, days seven through twelve, here, and the previous days here. Check back for new ones regularly, and let me know your thoughts!
19 | Gingerbread
‘Tis the season for sweets, from almond cookies and marzipan rounds, to gingerbread cut out in the shapes of men and houses. Candied chestnuts roasting on the street corners, the smell of burnt sugar carries its own siren song. Christmas treats come in all shapes and sizes, tiny German gingerhearts and delicate Belgian spice cookies, thin as lace, jam-filled window biscuits, piled high next to chocolate drizzled macaroons. Sugared almonds and spiced plums, liquored fruit baked into dense, chewy-sweet cakes, puddings that we steam for hours on end, to bring them out, with a flourish, at the end of our shared meal.
20 | Darkest Night
Shadows gather, long and creeping, and the lamps burn small and weak. Winter snakes its way in through every crack; the season has arrived. With frost and rain and chill, this night stretches — it arches its back into the high reaches of heaven and makes even the stars glare cold. Tonight, there is no escaping the ice and gloom. On this, the longest night of the year, darkenss reigns.
21 | Solstice
Thwarted day, brief candle. How quickly it fades. Not even a glimpse of sun between lashings of rain. But tomorrow will be longer, brighter. Tomorrow, the sun will rise.
22 | Yule
In ancient times, we sheltered from the cold, wielding firelight and story against the dark. These long, withering nights heralded the turning of the year, the hope of brighter days yet to come — for after every winter there must be another spring. But for now, for today, there is only the threat of death and hunger in the air, the crushed leaves, the frozen streams. There is only the late dawn and the early dusk, the wasted fields, the frost-bound boughs, and yet still, somehow, somewhere, the trill of birdsong on the wind.