21 June 2013 ~ Hyacinth Noir’s Summer Solstice Literary Focus
~ literary issues also available under drop-down menu at the top ~
~ a robin sings in the moments before dawn . . . ~
the summer solstice marks the time when the sun enters zero degrees of cancer, and the Sun God reaches the peak of power and is celebrated in his glory. At Beltaine, the Maiden Goddess and the youthful God had met in sacred marriage, and now the Goddess enters the aspect of the pregnant Mother. The God, at the apex of his manhood, is honoured in his aspect as the supreme sun. The earth, symbolic of the Mother Goddess, is now green and with the promise of a bountiful harvest in the autumn, and is celebrated for its abundance
our celebration of the summer solstice focusses on the poetry of Evelyn Deshane, whose work has encompassed diverse experiences of love with a sense of community and belonging
~ . . . the sun breaks across the horizon, light sparkling upon water lilies in the lake; a muskrat swims peacefully through the water, diving beneath the calm waves as the bird takes flight and disappears among the trees . . . ~
The Fortune Teller’s Muse
I took the iconic nature of the cards and made them tell a story beyond what was there on the deck. The fortune teller is often neglected and only seen as a source material — they tell us, the reader, about ourselves. But I wanted them to have a love story, and by combining it with a carnival, I hoped to capture the whimsical nature of summer.
I worked as a fortune teller
With tarot cards at the kids’ carnival
Making good money
But I didn’t believe it at all.
She walked in one night:
Sequinned top and high heeled shoes
When I pulled out The Lovers card
I knew I had to choose.
Between my day job at the super store
Or my night job at the fair
I noticed the moon was full that night
And I pretended not to care.
I shuffled my deck late into the night
After coming home from work
Pulled The Devil, then passed Judgement
And saw her face, flashing a smirk.
I travelled four blocks to find her
Following the sequins like the stars
A night map of Polaris and Ursa Major
Has never taken me so far.
She took me to a new World
And pulled the Magician out of her sleeve
Now I may never work at the carnival again
But she made me believe.
the relationship between two girlfriends is maintained through the frailty of winter, but also through distance. I wanted to take this idea of the earth — as always changing and always far away, and yet, predictable and see if it could also be related to the ways in which we experience love.
In winter, our hearts froze
From across an ocean
We sent emails back and forth
Trying to keep our fingers warm.
On Candlemas – Ground Hog Day
We had the epiphany to stay together
Though it would be more than six weeks
Of strained texting in bad weather.
But women are good with waiting
Our bodies are clocks and our skin the earth
We have been taught how to be patient
And to give when we wish to return.
I watch the rain cris-cross on the window
As I cross off the calendar days
Until the equinox and Easter and Beltane;
Until the plane is boarded and secured.
In the airport, at the arrivals
It’s midnight and full moon
Our arms wrap around one another
And we revolve as season should.
Frank and Gavin
I wanted to mark out the sacred ritual of family. Though this celebration takes place on the first day of summer, it does not always have to be reinforced through a religious/spiritual guide. It’s the ritual and community of family that matters — and what gives the two boyfriends in this poem hope to carry on. I also wanted to represent a queer family structure, that of many children and many different identities.
On June 21st, the first day of summer
My mom always has a BBQ
It’s really a birthday party, for all of us
Who were born into a golden afternoon
Just after the frailty of winter
But before the summer’s true heat incapacitates.
We recite toasts at tables
With long checkered table clothes
As dad flips five different types of burgers
— vegan, veggie, gluten free
All grade beef and free range–
with four different tongs
and all the younger children run around
and scream as they wait to sing
The Birthday Song.
My sister brings her girlfriend,
I bring my boyfriend
And the adults all pair off evenly.
For the kids, there’s a water fight
In the inflatable swimming pool
With red balloons and a sprinkler hose
And from the tin roof that we climb out onto
I explain to you my birthright.
Spring and summer have always felt very different
Since I was the only one born in the fall
I’ve always watched from the bottom, on scraped knees
My vantage point from between legs and toes
And I grew up thinking this was normal:
That all families get together every summer
Just to have birthdays and BBQs
That we all fight over a water hose
And not over mortgages
That this day will leave us all sunburned
But not alone or mute. We will all
Match by the end of the day.
We will all be together,
Through more than circumstance or DNA.
Though there are no candles for the cake
It does not matter. The wishes float.
They rise above, on the stem of dandelions
On the edges of eyelashes, and become:
A summer sunrise, a moonlight walk
An evening dressed in our finest hats and tailcoats.
But this is not a family reunion
since we never really left.
With your stunned silence, I realize
That old poet Auden was correct:
“Life remains a blessing,
Although you cannot bless.”
It takes until spring and summer
When the sun is out and the night is short
For people to understand how lucky they are
For people to understand that there is hope.
From the roof, we both look down
On the family tree that I’ve explained
Spiraling on the lawn like weeds and over us like roots.
There are few things that never change:
June 21st, the summer seasons
Our BBQs, and maybe, if I’m lucky, you.
her work has appeared in The Fieldstone Review, Arthur Newspaper, and Absynthe Magazine. She has an MA in Public Texts from Trent University and is currently pursuing her PhD. She lives in Canada.
~ . . . dewdrops evaporate in the heat of the sun as the earth awakens to the longest day of the year . . . a monarch butterfly flutters through the warming breeze and lands upon a late-blooming marsh marigold, while in the distance, celtic music and the laughter of joyful children resonate in honour of the gods ~