’Tis the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s,
Lucy’s, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks.
— John Donne, “A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day,
Being the Shortest Day”
Afternoons end early, in December.
When the day dissolves in night, remember
Lucy, who took on the night,
embodied it in herself—removed her eyes,
and offered them to God, a sacrifice
tendered in the palm right hand.
Blind, she is the patroness of sight,
the incandescent porteress of light.
Meanwhile the other carrier of light,
the courier of darkness, Lucifer,
was dazzled blind by his own brilliance and,
seizing light-years of lumens, took them down
to decorate his sour December lair.
While from his midwinter home he watches her,
Lucy salvages the young sun, wearing
candles like starry flowers for a crown.