Anthem for our coming winter

Once again we have escaped the night’s gnawing away at the light. Neolithic man must have been even more terrified than I was as the daylight got shorter every day. But just like then, and as it has ever since, came winter solstice and night was defeated! Helios has vanquished darkness; the earth is no longer without form, order reigns and chaos is once again beaten back: Marduk has defeated Tiamat, Horus and Jesus are born, Julblotet sacrifices have been made so days will become longer and soon surely the crops will rise again.


The columns of the Karnak temple are aligned so that the Winter Solstice sun rises along its central axis. (Photo by Graham Hancock.)

But this year we must prepare for a second winter, one we’ve never seen before. As we anticipate the first openly proto-fascist administration in America, we have no Christina Rossetti carol appropriate for the purpose. We can, however, turn to America’s most lyrical fascist poet who inverted a medieval English summer anthem for just the kind of salute we need for the winter soon to be upon us.

Ancient Music

from Lustra with Earlier Poems (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1917, p.61)

by Ezra Pound

Winter is icummen in
Lhude sing Goddamm.
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.

Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damn you, sing: Goddamm.

Goddamm, Goddamm, ’tis why I am, Goddamm,
So ‘gainst the winter’s balm.

Sing goddamm, damm, sing Goddamm.
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

  1. Love it — every bit of this! Goddamn is very much on my mind these days.
    Yes, it’s too weird to think that Neolithic man, young ones, anyway, must sometimes have feared that all light was disappearing forever, and then Dec. 22, not to mention Jan. 22, was, if goddamn cold, a little brighter!

  2. Great poem! Good to know in times like these. Thanks.

  3. Let’s hope that light follows every dark time in it’s season, DK. The image of the winter solstice light and Pound’s apt but bleak poem reminded me something Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote.

    “People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

    In dark times, I suspect that holds true. The light will need to come from within all of us if we are to survive.

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