Branchings and runners fall shorter,
as short as they ever will be;
they fall to gloved hand and clipper
on winter solstice day.
Thickest trunks stay, rising through snow.
Thinnest vinings from the longest
of days, that bore greenest of growth,
fall, now days are shortest.
Oh, our summer seemed so endless
when countless thoughts clustered to mind —
although some vines would stand fruitless,
and many plans would end,
brought short by the trimming of hours;
and now celebrants trim yule trees,
and dwell with a sigh on past years
and long-gone solstice days.
I cut them short as they will be,
all year, these runners and branchings,
and hope that the shrinking of day
and dim thoughts of endings
will yield to times when even Time
will grow, granting days that will be
longer, when greening thoughts will climb
higher, nearer the sky —
at least along wires that we string
across land, across snow, to hold
such hopes. A solstice day must bring
something new, something old —
or bring short the old to unfold
into the new. Who can foresee
what one short day's trimming will yield,
this winter solstice day?