Summer Solstice Sonnets and Hymns

Hope you like these. Please tell me what you think… There are morning and evening sonnets, and morning and evening hymns. If you find yourself using them as part of a ceremony, I would love to know.

Morning Sonnet
Come, Valiant Sun, at the height of your strength,
and witness the death of the king of oaks.
Your summer days have reached their greatest length,
but now the wren-king the robin-lord breaks,
and here begins the failing of the Light.
The Goddess weeps to see her consort fall,
but takes her new love by his ancient right
even as she lays out the old king’s pall.
Nothing is static and everything flows,
and though the mother is fecund and green
the power of the Dark from this moment grows,
though it is the Light whose strength is now seen.
The turning of the circle of the years
brings triumph to us here, but later, tears.

Morning Hymn
Hail to thee, Sun Unconquered, at your height:
we have watched you climb through lengthening days,
suffusing once-dim hours with warm light,
and bathing the world with life-giving rays.
With this triumph done, your downfall begins,
and though sweet greening clings to the soil
the flowers fade, and the wheel slowly turns.
There’s still time for purple blueberry grins

and killing aphids — the gardener’s toil.
Wetlands stay canopied by woodland ferns.

Yet some maple leaves transform to yellow,
even as tart new blackberries take shape.
Snakes sun themselves on rocks; bullfrogs bellow.
Owl wings silent while these woods yet sleep,
hunting phoebe nestled among brambles.
Red-winged blackbird displays his sergeant’s stripes;
new bluets and buttercups carpet fields.
Young bucks walkabout on midnight rambles,
possessed at once by two great archetypes:
both lord of the forest and prey who yields.

Now red-tailed hawk teaches her young to fly;
from garden’s black earth springs basil and chive.
Oriole’s nest conceals a hungry cry:
All existence proclaims: We are alive!
Thus summer’s feast begins beneath your eye:
as lichen and mosses split open stone,
Indian pipe breaks down what died last year;
cattails make space for duck and dragonfly.
Oak takes pride in the half-inch he has grown:
though he rots, he’s still old and without peer.

Evening Sonnet
Hail, bright evening, after Sun takes the height,
and every green plant surges to the sky!
Billions of leaves lie open to the Light,
bladder wort and cow’s vetch, apple and rye!
Who can comprehend what tremendous change
Sun’s plodding courses work on Earth below?
Bittersweet and wild grape rearrange
every vine they have for maximum flow
of soil’s wealth and sweetness from heaven.
Meadow lark begins questing for berries,
squirrel raids his stores of last year’s leaven.
Autumn’s apples reach the size of cherries.
Every inch of ground has bounty to share,
dripping nectar in streams, perfumes to air.

Evening Hymn
As longest day recedes in evening dew,
and Sun — who achieved his highest courses
with daytime travail — now hopes to renew
acquaintance with more southerly traces.
Oak puts forth acorn with sure intention;
white campion and St. John’s wort arise;
basil puts forth an abundance of leaf.
Jewelweed and mint fight in contention
for the same ground and the same open skies,
acting in total freedom from belief.

For solstice comes, whatever prayers we make,
and Solstice goes, though we will it remain.
Tomato vines twine upwards ’round the stake,
and sun and rain and wind shall ripen grain.
Slime molds grow, then harden on moistened ground,
then wither away as their season turns.
Catbird warbles with no need to explain
reasons for his joyous, sarcastic sound.
Chipmunk just chitters beneath bracken ferns;
some pieces of shell make turtle’s end plain.

Yet, in this twilight, some holiness clings,
as mourning doves begin their evening hymns;
for wealth and weal rise from hidden springs
and Gaia with nine sorts of blossoms limns
a field that now is green — yet will be gold,
since Greenness prays with threads of chemistry,
inhaling death and exhaling power.
Earth is breathing, whatever myths are told,
and we are one mote in her alchemy,
whose transmutation brings seed to flower.

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  1. Wonderful as always. I may use one of them if we end up doing a Midsummer ritual here (scheduling’s been odd).

    Thank you for sharing your creations.

  2. Wonderful as always. I may use one of them if we end up doing a Midsummer ritual here (scheduling’s been odd).

    Thank you for sharing your creations.

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