Sankta Lucia and Crows by Van Anderson

Sankta Lucia and Crows

The coldest time of year is just the time
to seek a mate, or so the crows divine.
They’re seeking food as well in city parks
and streets, but consorts fill the air—they’re stark
as black against the snow, obsidian angels
that squawl across a sky as grey as steel.
This is a hard time of the year, when night
devours the sun and swallows our brief light.
Still, dawn-clad St. Lucia wears her crown
of candles, flickering hope throughout the room.
They tried to torch her centuries ago;
she would not burn, became a saint, so now
the exegetic crows caw versions of
the fire and heat of her December love.

by Van Anderson

Poet’s Note: Lucia’s feast day is 13 December, though it used to coincide with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. It is a festival of light celebrated in Sweden and Norway and features a young girl, wearing a white dress and a red sash (as the symbol of martyrdom) who carries palms and wears a crown or wreath of candles on her head. Other girls dressed as Lucia sing songs as they carry rolls and cookies in a procession. The festival helps relieve the long, dark winter days with light.

Editor’s Note: This sonnet’s main message of optimism and light is sorely needed this particular December.

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