Arts & Leisure

Poetry: Threads of light and silver

Silver Solstice
By Cindy Hill
Pale sun slides low across the silver sky
and softly spins a thread of silver light
to hold the force of day against the night,
the all-entombing darkness to defy.
Like mycorrhizal filaments through earth
or water pulsing up through bedrock fault,
Light lives, though buried deep within a vault,
like seeds that slumber, dreaming of rebirth.
Silver mist of dawn slips through the oak,
envelops twigs of ash and birch and beech.
Silver tendrils slip and wrap and reach,
bright majesty of morning to uncloak.
Though darkness wields each facet of its art,
it cannot tarnish joy within our heart.
Cindy Ellen Hill is an attorney, writer, musician and obsessed gardener living in Middlebury. She has won numerous awards for journalism and short fiction, and won the 2002 Ralph Nading Hill award for a narrative poem, “Land for Sale.” Her poetry has been published in Literary Mama, PanGaia, Sagewoman, WildEarth, Vermont Life, Measure, the Classical Poets Society online, Ancient Paths online, and read on the National Public Radio Themes and Variations program. Composing music developed her appreciation for rhyme and meter, and she now writes primarily formal poetry, particularly sonnets.
Light arrives as silver threads spinning their magic in this shimmering sonnet by Cindy Hill. We are invited to experience this wintery light before taking a deeper turn with the phrases “mycorrhizal filaments” and “water pulsing up through bedrock fault” allowing us to experience light in another way, as earthbound and almost tactile, which feels both odd and enlivening. These images wake us up to the ever-present energy and light around us, but also keep us grounded on earth and open to its appearance in unexpected places. If we invite our imagination to go a bit further, we might experience light as held or contained, even in deep dark recesses like bedrock or vaults, as the poem suggests.
Light lives hundreds of feet beneath the ocean’s surface and even near the sea floor where some tiny creatures create their own light in the form of brilliant bioluminescent colors. Light exists in outer space where the shimmer of stars and planets millions of miles away reaches us long after their demise, determined to travel on. Pieces of asteroids and comets ignite upon entering Earth’s atmosphere in the form of meteor showers like the ones that graced us this December, some appearing bright and low as if they might glance off the mountains and dive deep into earth’s dark waters.
And light lives inside us and is created by our own human bodies where our very cells make their own form of light, playing off the energy that surrounds us, responding in a symbiotic way that can enhance our health and wellbeing. Some say the energy and light around us communicates with our cells, bringing us vitality and information, not unlike those underground networks of fungi and plants that know where in the forest energy and nutrients are most needed.
So light lives in the earth, it seems, as in our bodies, and air and space, but all in their own way. And at winter solstice “light lives, dreaming of rebirth,” as the poet says, perhaps this year more than ever. We can enhance light, both literally and figuratively, whether within our bodies and beings or in our surroundings. Perhaps it can be tapped at will, to express like “a thread of silver” or “mist through oaks,” or as human hearts and hands that reach, guiding that light to where it’s needed most.
Susan Jefts is a poet and educator who lives in both Ripton and the Adirondacks. She has recently completed her first full-length book of poetry and runs workshops using poetry as a way to explore our relationships with nature, as well as other themes. Her website is

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