Poetry Friday (R.A.P.):  Morketiden

This time of year starts to get the best of me around mid-January. The excitement of Christmas is over, the novelty of the snow and ice has worn off, and I start to long for the sun. I am a child of the North, and grew up accustomed to long winters, fairy-dust snow and sub-zero temperatures. Although I do still love the snow and cold I have noticed that the older I get the harder Winter seems. I yern for the sun, for the bright light and colors of Spring.

The title of this poem may need a little explanation: The word Morketiden is a Norwegian word, and it means “murky time” or “dark time.” When I was a child of seven my family moved for a short time to Stavanger, Norway. In the high latitudes, the sun dips out of sight and spends the winter barely tipping its head over the horizon. I remember going to school in the dark, having first recess in the dusky, pre-dawn light, spending a few minutes in a weak sort of midday sun and then walking home in the dark. The one Norwegian Morketiden of my childhood lasted from the end of November until the end of January but my adult, American Morketiden seems to set in around now and last until Spring starts to break through all that gray. I love the word “morketiden,” it just seems to sum up the Winter doldrums better than any word the English language owns!


the world is painted
in thick shades
of dullest gray
the clouds hang
with feathered fingers
reaching downward
under grit-gray
used up snow
all the colors lie
dulled senseless by the cold
the light is faint
and spent
the sun sighs like an old man
between thick wool blankets
the air thickens
with darkness
becomes difficult to see through
like murky underwater vistas
dulled by swirling silt
I find myself swimming
through gray-scale landscapes
eyes weary of this
monotonous morketiden
and I go on
squinting my way
towards Spring

More Random Acts of Poetry:Of Launching and Recovering by Ann at A Holy Experience, L.L.’s Found in the Outdoor Journal (Part IV) at Seedlings in Stone, Mom2six writes about the great I AM over at Treasures of Darkness, Emptied by Joelle at Alivening, The Poetry of Twitter at The High Calling Blogs.

7 thoughts on “Poetry Friday (R.A.P.): Morketiden

  • January 9, 2009 at 3:18 am

    This is so good. I love the word as well morketiden. Sounds murky.

  • January 9, 2009 at 7:08 am

    your poem is lovely my friend. And yet I can not hope for spring. I am saddened this week by the melting of the snow and the warming just a bit. I watch the forecast with the hope of chilly temps and little white flakes. And they are not there. I dread the coming of the heat and my shut in time. I am not ready to let go of my winter fairyland.

  • January 9, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    these lines…

    the light is faint
    and spent

    I like the sounds.

    And I love the picture. Is it yours?

  • January 9, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    mom2six…I love the word, too…and it’s pronounced “Murky-teeden”, so it’s even murkier than it looks!

    Dawn…I know, my friend! we’re longing at cross-ends.

    Thanks, Jenl! I loved today’s post on your site, by the way.

    L.L….yes, the picture is mine. I like it too! At first when I look at it I see sky behind the dried stalks of last year’s primroses, but it is actually snow. I think I like it because of that funny illusion, and also because the primroses are so bright in the summer and look so bleak and weed-y once they’re finished blooming.

  • January 9, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    I am feeling the same way now. I love thoughts of winter, cold, and snow during the holidays, but by the time February gets here, I am so ready for Spring! How interesting to hear a little about your time in Norway. Thank you for sharing the poem…I’ve learned a new word today..Morketiden. I’d never heard it before. God bless you today!

  • January 9, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    I absolutely loved this. My fav line is about the old man between blankets. I’m envious of your gift. The one thing I have never been able to write is poetry.


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