Maeshowe: Midwinter

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Equinox to Hallowmas, darkness
falls like the leaves. The
tree of the sun is stark.

On the loom of winter, shadows
gather in a web; then the
shuttle of St Lucy makes a
pause; a dark weave
fills the loom.

The blackness is solid as a
stone that locks a tomb.
No star shines there.

Then begins the true ceremony of
the sun, when the one
last fleeting solstice flame
is caught up by a
midnight candle.

Children sing under a street
lamp, their voices like
leaves of light.


- George Mackay Brown



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