Northland Solstice

by Eric Linden
Mosaic Musings
Second Place, December 2007
Judged by E. Ethelbert Miller


Snow lay deep that cold December
on my Dawson City home,
shrouding mountains, lakes and rivers
far and wide, including Nome.

Not much moved; our world was frozen
from Old Crow to Watson Lake.
Even ravens had forsaken
this harsh land, for pity’s sake.

Darkness dwelled; it stopped and dallied,
swallowed up the midnight sun.
How I cursed this devil northland
and its grip I couldn’t shun.

Came the day I went out walking;
all was quiet, skies pale blue;
in the woods, those white-clad pine trees
sparkled like old Manitou.

Could it be that I heard carols
coming from those soundless hills?
Solstice in this frigid northland
spells more, brighter winter chills.


What would Jack London think of this poem? Here is the Yukon. Dawson City a place where people went looking for gold? This poem however captures the moment more than history. One is a witness to the landscape and seeing its beauty through the eyes of a poet. Nothing moves -- except the language. What lies beyond the cold and darkness? What brighter winter chills? I like the question this poem asks -- "Could it be that I heard carols/coming from those soundless hills?" --E. Ethelbert Miller

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