Outside My Window


Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
                                  Play louder.
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
                                  And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.
~William Carlos Williams  “January”




It’s been uncharacteristically cold here for nearly a month and this morning the northeast wind is back, pummeling away at our windows.

This is cold that descends from the Arctic to blast through the strongest Carhartt clothing, sneak under drafty doors, and freeze pipes not left dripping.  It leaves no one untouched and unbitten with universal freezer burn, mocking us with its discordant chilly chords.

A bitter cold snap ensures even independent fair-weather individualists must become companionable when the going gets rugged, mandating shelter with others for survival.  It can even mean forced companionship with those we ordinarily avoid, with whom we have little in common, with whom we disagree and even quarrel, with whom sharing a hug or snuggling for warmth would be unimaginable.

Our nation is in just such a cold snap today, terribly and bitterly divided about the inauguration to come, each of us feeling battered and pummeled by the winds of change.  If we together don’t come in out of the deep freeze, we each will perish alone.

Hope is all we have left as so much hot air is being generated by derisive voices, even in the chillest land…


“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
~Emily Dickinson


3 thoughts on “Outside My Window

  1. Wise words and thoughts. If only we all didn’t face dire threats from a substantial seat of power. The power to destroy seems now far greater than the old hopes. The best some of us can muster is to take a wait-and-see tack.


  2. A chilling description of our current situation, Emily, It is consistent with your NW weather ( mine in the NE). and with much in our beloved country.

    Yes, hope! Plus faith in His constant Presence among us, are all that we have left…. as individuals, as a society, as a nation. We already have His Promises to which
    we cling as constant, comforting reminders….

    It is imperative that we name and recognize the reality of the nascent evils that are present within our society and also within the Body that have caused our present ‘chilling’ atmosphere. We will not survive or maintain our humanity unless we close ranks, see ‘the other’ — ALL — as God’s creation, needing affirmation, protection, inclusion. Our loving God has given us all the gifts needed to achieve this – and more, if we have the humility to seek, to ask of Him. Jesus showed us the way. He fought the evils of His day in the same way that we must now do the same. There are many kinds of death. He showed us one of many.


  3. I agree Em, so well said. We have to stop pulling against each other…..in order to move forward. How can we defy the simple laws of motion….


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