Winter Thoughts by Tim Hawkins

Others no longer present have traced fitting inscriptions into the steam of the window and the dust of the bureau: Flat Affect; Bent, Not Broken; White Knuckling It; The Starving Time; A God-Awful Thing to Behold. They could attest to a flash frozen landscape out there—all cold casks of herring in an ice-covered brine. Outside the window I hear and envision the clop-clop of ragged ponies leading ethereal funeral processions down stark and abandoned boulevards lined with gray and leafless trees.

Off in the distance, forever out of reach, Kierkegaard, or someone like him, makes his way through the drifts, dragging his club foot, crablike, on spindly legs, hunched over in thought and holding fast to his quicksilver notions, as eternal in the gray northern twilight as they are nearly invisible. Barely keeping his feet, he seems from this vantage the fleeting, black shadow of a crow.

Perhaps, when all is written, no stoic horses will have wintered, trembling, in these fields. And perhaps, after all, it was not Kierkegaard who wrote of winter that it is: “The untimely intrusion of grand, bleak, monolithic eternity on the ephemeral consciousness, like an animal that finds its gaze in the black current of a slow-moving river, and holds steadfastly to it, never looking away, until it freezes over and becomes opaque, then clouds over with snow.” But friend, there are so many things I could tell you, so many tasks I would undertake, once winter is truly over.


Tim Hawkins’ Pushcart Prize-nominated prose and poetry has appeared in more than thirty publications. His poetry collection, Wanderings at Deadline, was published in 2012 by Aldrich Press. Read more at:

unsplash-logoAdam Chang