The Close and Holy Darkness

One of the gifts I give myself at this time each year is to listen to, not read, but listen to, Dylan Thomas’ exquisite poem, A Child’s Christmas in Wales. There are several recorded versions, and a quick YouTube search will bring up some good ones. This year, I stumbled upon Cerys Matthews’ version and, oh my, it’s the best ever. She’s done it as an almost Peter and the Wolf (one of G/Son’s favorites) type of poem/musical work and it is pure magic.

Thomas’ poem ends with a prayer “to the close and holy darkness,” and I never hear those words without the chill that tells me that magic is afoot. (Someone once said that white magic is poetry and black magic is anything that actually works. If that’s true, Dylan Thomas was a grey Witch.) Now that we’ve slipped into the season of growing light, I find myself treasuring even more “the close and holy darkness.” It wraps around me when I settle under my heavy blankets at the end of a long day’s legal writing and it buffers me from the world when I wake a few hours before dawn for my daily practice.

Give yourself a gift and listen to Thomas’ magical poem. And then say your own few words to the close and holy darkness.

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