because nobody knows what it really is

It was always as if Christmas
was somehow stranded out there
a few days past the solstice
the longest night the shortest day
so naturally the Christians just
missed the suns farthest swing
on the horizon and out of time
stranded on calendrical strand
neither solstice or equinox
one small blink of growing light
in a long winter yet to come
but, of course, the ancients knew
(even the Christians) shortest day
longest night was such a big deal
they spent those several days
celebrating that the glowing sun
which had hung at its apex
like a red ball hesitating before
being pulled down to our earth
and the day of most brilliant joy
was when the sun returned again
just the way it had come to bring
light and warmth and new life
to all the web of creatures below
come again, how long will it come


James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.