A Winter Solstice Poem for You

Oil Painting by Nina Serrano

Oil Painting by Nina Serrano

Advent of the Winter Solstice

By Nina Serrano

My Dear, What shall we do through the longest night
when the moon and the star remain in sight
and dawn hovers in the wings
waiting for its interminable cue?

My Dear, we will be posted at our computers
catching the hem of the skirt
of every passing muse
in the dust of time
in this longest moonshine
brewing an elixir of memory and metaphor
Our fingers will capture it
letter by space bar
Verses sent off by electrical force we don’t understand
Our words bumping into others’ words
flying through cyber space
will create a universe of poetry in cyber clouds
of ever expanding immensity
of ever expanding immensity
becoming finite in the print-out of pages.

©2013 Nina Serrano

Page 75 from HEART STRONG, Selected Poems 2000-2012

About Nina Serrano: Nina is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 82 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to ninaserrano.com or contact her publisher at estuarypress.com. For more detailed information about Nina see About Nina on her website.

About Estuary Press: Estuary Press is the publisher of Nicaragua Way. It is also the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive, a repository of photography and video documentaries of various social change and political movements during the 1960s and 1970s. Contact Paul Richards (510) 967 5577, paulrichards@estuarypress.com or visit estuarypress.com for more details.

MEDIA – For photos & interviews: Paul Richards (510) 967 5577; paulrichards@estuarypress.com


A Winter Solstice Poem for You — 7 Comments

  1. Dear Nina,

    Thank you for this striking Winter solstice poem. I would like to translate it into Spanish. I remember the call to poets to send contribution to a collective poetry project made by Roberto Vargas in 2009. You, Nina, and I were the only poets who responded in kind and did send some Winter solstice poems. For me, it was a beginning of a life journey that took me to so many different locations and levels that now I am in the process of reflecting about all these experiences. You were part of this journey from the very beginning and I appreciate your poem posted here so much. I am posting here the three original poemsI did (one dedicated to you) and I posted on my Facebook page around the Winter solstice of 2009.

    Muchos abrazos,


    New Poems for the Collective Poetry Project Initiated by Roberto Vargas
    December 29, 2009 at 1:12pm

    These are three poems I have written after poet Robert Vargas convoked poets to participate in writing a collective poetry project:


    today in this Winter solstice
    the longest night of the whole year
    and the shortest day with the least sun
    no matter how much I try I can’t sleep

    I get up from my bed in the dark
    and blindly I walk off to the door
    quietly I close up my body’s eyes
    and open my soul’s eyes to the world

    suddenly I am able to see around
    all the members of my family
    doing what they always wanted to do

    and I can also see my friends flying
    like winged unicorns fulfilling
    their deepest dreams in 2010

    December 22, 2009
    Francisco X. Alarcón


    hoy en este solisticio invernal
    la noche más larga de todo el año
    y el día más corto con menos sol
    por más que quiero no puedo dormir

    me levanto a oscuras de mi cama
    y a tientas me dirijo a la puerta
    quieto cierro los ojos de mi cuerpo
    y abro los ojos de mi alma al mundo

    y de pronto sin más puedo observar
    a todos los miembros de mi familia
    haciendo lo que siempre querían hacer

    a mis amigos los puedo ver volar
    como unicornios alados haciendo
    realidad sus sueños en el dos mil diez

    22 de diciembre de 2009
    Francisco X. Alarcón



    after reading Nina Serrano’s poem, “Dear Listeners”
    dedicated to La Raza Chonicles / KPFA, Berkeley

    let’s open our ears and hearts
    to the human waves from those
    who have no one else to turn to
    in devastated jungles and cities

    let’s listen to the voices of children
    crying aloud and protesting because
    now they are all alone in this nation;
    because La Migra deported their parents

    let our poems speak Spanish, English,
    Spanglish, Arabic, Maya, Hmong,
    so they can tune in the world’s tones

    let our poems be Earth prayers
    tearing down barriers, feet grounded,
    and yet, ethereal, like radio poems

    December 24, 2009
    Francisco X. Alarcón


    tras leer el poema de Nina Serrano, “Dear Listeners”
    dedicado a La Raza Chronicles / KPFA, Berkeley

    abramos los oídos y corazones
    a ondas radiales humanas salidas
    de aquéllos que no tienen a nadie más
    en devastadas selvas y ciudades

    escuchemos las voces de los niños
    que lloran y protestan porque ahora
    se han quedado solos en esta nación,
    porque La Migra deportó a sus padres

    que nuestros poemas hablen español,
    inglés, espanglish, árabe, maya, hmong,
    para así sintonizar los tonos del mundo

    que éstos sean oraciones a la Tierra,
    y rompan barreras, con pies plantados,
    y a la vez, etéreos como radio poemas

    24 de diciembre de 2009
    Francisco X. Alarcón



    Inca leader of the Anti-Spanish Rebellion of 1780
    executed in the main plaza of Cuzco, Peru
    May 18th, 1781

    I refuse
    to learn
    the lesson
    of silence

    to take
    my place
    to nowhere

    to obey
    the colonial
    of oppression

    I don’t denounce
    our past
    nor can I take
    their present

    our country
    still remains
    to be found
    in the future

    in the ancestral
    of our people

    I know
    at the end
    there will be
    no one but me

    I know
    at the end
    there will be
    no one but me

    but I won’t
    recant nor take
    back any words
    of rebellion

    in front of most
    atrocious irons
    and torments
    before the crowd

    four horses won’t
    be able to tear
    apart my arms
    nor my legs

    will forever take
    care of my soul
    and my heart

    as a condor
    I will keep flying
    over the Andes
    alongside the Sun

    December 26th, 2009
    Francisco X. Alarcón

    Túpac Amaru II

    líder inca de la rebelión anti-española de 1780
    ejecutado en la plaza central de Cuzco, Perú
    el 18 de mayo de 1781

    la lección
    del silencio

    mi lugar
    a ninguna
    parte sin más

    el catecismo
    de la opresión

    no denuncio
    nuestro pasado
    ni acepto
    sui presente

    nuestra patria
    se halla
    en el futuro

    en la memoria
    ancestral de
    nuestro pueblo

    que al final
    nadie habrá
    más que yo—

    no recantaré
    ni retractaré
    palabra alguna
    de rebelión

    ante hierros
    y tormentos
    más atroces
    frente al gentío

    cuatro caballos
    no podrán arrancar
    ni mis brazos
    ni mis piernas

    para siempre
    mi alma y corazón

    como condor
    los Andes
    junto al sol

    26 de diciembre de 2009
    Francisco X. Alarcón

    I started with a personal, intimate poem, because I couldn’t go to sleep and then after reading “Dear Listeners” by Nina Serrano, I moved to a more social level, and after reading Daniel del Solar’s “They Have Lived Here for a Thousand Years,” I explored a historical episode that I wanted to write for years.

    My suggestion to Roberto Vargas is to call this collective poetry project:

    “Many Voices / One Vision: Muchas Voces / Una Visión.”

    I hope many poetas de la comuinidad participate in this collective project. Maybe invite más poetas a participar,


    Francisco X. Alarcón

  2. Dearest Nina,
    You capture so well the cyber “spirit”, it’s amazing how you can blend your soft and warm sensibility with the cold facts of the computer/digital realm. A real treat


  3. Dear David, Yes please share it with as broad a group as possible. I am thrilled that you like it. Please use the link to it, if you can so poeple go to my site, see my work and even consider buying a book. It is on sale on Amazon at $16.99- right now. Thanks again for your interest.

  4. Dear Florence, I love your poem. Crotch really catches your attention. It’s like a syncopation in sound, idea and imagery. You are a master of this. May the Solstice fill you with warmth and light.

  5. Thank you Alfonso. We, like you and me, who are on computer a lot have to embrace it in our art, as Snowden, Assange, and Bradley have done in politics. I was so impressed with you gallery opening video. Season’s greetings, love, Nina

  6. Thank you Francisco for your wonderful poems and for translating my solstice poem. I had forgotten the radio poem, which I so love. I remember that we each read our radio poems to each other on the air. You refer to Daniel’s poem too, which is a favorite and feels so good to revisit. I look forward to the crop of poems we will harvest this solstice season. Love, nina

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