Who But the Sun?


From the Archive

Ladies and gentlemen, the sun.


You may have heard: today is the summer solstice. That big ole sun out there is going nowhere fast. It’ll be hanging in the sky for hours yet. You want nightfall? Fuck your nightfall! Put a blanket over your head and leave the sun alone!

As for the rest of you: if you’re looking for something to kick off your pagan celebrations, I dug through our archives in search of some verse to suit today‘s heliophilia vibes. Here’s what I’ve got: Baudelaire. In our Winter 1981 issue we ran nineteen poems by him—translated by Richard Howard, who won our Hadada Award this year. One of these, “The Sun,” is as moving a tribute to that fiery ball of gas as has ever been written. A quick sample:

Who but the sun persuades the lame to dance
as if their canes were maypoles, governing
the resurrection of the harrowed fields,
and for the secret harvest of the heart
commands immortal wheat to grow again!

When, with a poet’s will, the sun descends
into the cities like a king incognito,
impartially visiting palace and hospital,
the fate of all things vile is glorified.

Subscribers can read the full poem here. Nonsubscribers should subscribe now, at which time they, too, can read the whole poem, or recite it to the sun itself, or print it out and use a magnifying glass to focus the sun’s rays on it until it bursts into flames—a fitting way to celebrate the solstice.