Editor's Note: Each day from December 1 -21, Halifax' poet laureate Sue Goyette will write a new poem to share with the city on The Coast's website and social media. "If I need this, I bet other people need this," she told us on day one—and we think she's right. In a year that's felt like a months-long dusk, this will be some light we can carry forward, together, until the days begin to grow again.
Here is her poem for December 16:
There is a day, each December, that requests to hear Joni Mitchell sing "River". Depending on the year, it may request a repeat. Or several. There is a limit; I’ve learned there is only so much a body can hold. Joni rivers a longing that is tributary for all longing. Potent in a month of a new and sudden darkness. And the request this day of all Decembers is making is specific. It wants to hear Joni in her 77-year-old glory sing it because it’s missing the amaryllis beak of aging women who’ve insisted time to put on a little lipstick. Who know a thing or two about frozen rivers and the plants beneath, pushed up close for the sun. Who have lived that pushed up close and under long enough. There aren’t many grandmothers in this December. The sweet and salty bundle of them making their way through another winter. If the voice makes a pilgrimage through the heart before it’s let loose through lips then December 16th wants to hear an eon of heart syrup in the low notes, in the breath before the plunge. Not to leave but to fly.