a photo of sunlight off-camera to the left, with a leaning ancient stone in front of the light. there is a grassy field and the sky is blue with some clouds.

the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere where I live; winter solstice in the southern hemisphere

my gift to you: a poem to mark the day

we have arrived.
here is another milestone, keep going. you’re getting there.
our longest day.
our yearly luxury of light.
a beam of gold to see what has grown, what is ready, what we sowed, what we now reap.

if you desire a different harvest,
if these grains, these vegetables, these fruits, these proofs of how you’ve worked are reminders of choices you wish you hadn’t made,
plant different seeds.

if you like,
summer is proof that spring arrived when it arrived.
there are babies. there is more food on the earth.

(whether or not it is equitably distributed, that is not a debate; the blessings of harvest do not reach the mouths of the most hungry)

if I were to ask you
what you plan to do with these extra moments in the light
that would be a useless question.
we were not born to use up every minute as if it was the last.
we are here to notice. to see. to observe the riot of the good,
the shadowed and crowded fields of the bad,
to notice ourselves.
what choices do we know that we must make
now that we have refused to look away?

or perhaps fortunately,
the gifts of the earth are intertwined with how well we love one another.
we can see even when our eyes are closed.
we can know even when we pretend to be oblivious.

so marvel, then,
that the sun still shines upon us,
or maybe it only shines for the glory of the earth,
and we are gifted the grace of that light.

the longest day of the year.
the shortest night.
the least darkness of any day.
let it radicalize you,
because you are also a choice away from what gives life, or what takes life away.

— Phoenix Kelley, Litha 2023

featured image is a photo by Hulki Okan Tabak on Unsplash

Nix Kelley
Co-parent to multiple kids. Writer. Death doula. Member of the Order of the Good Death. Seeker on the Path of Light. Queer, non-binary, & trans.


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