End of Winter | Rachel McKimmy

Can’t remember the first time you felt

Scared of being alone.

This feeling has always been with you,

An ice that won’t ever melt.

Scared of being alone,

But what if there’s solace in silence, peace:

A knowledge that it is from this we are born,

And that this is where we go when all things cease?

But what if there’s no solace in silence, no peace?

Cold: you are fearful of the chill in your skin,

That you will freeze from lack of touch—

And you are hollow, you have no light to thaw you from within.

You are made of the chill in your skin, cold,

But: reach your fingers to the sun,

And numbly grasp the warmth, strands of gold

That you can’t remember the last time you felt.

***

Behind the writing

“My poem “End of Winter” was written for my English 223, Intro Creative Writing class with Phil Christman. As someone who mainly writes prose, I was nervous about trying to write poetry. This was the first poem I wrote for that class. For the first version of the poem, the structure was really simple and it was just a collection of images and feelings and a basic rhyme scheme, with a first-person perspective. I have lived with both social anxiety and loneliness, so I was trying to capture those feelings in the poem. My instructor returned it with a note essentially saying that it was too basic and unoriginal. I was crushed, because I’d received such a positive response from my peers when I shared it in class. I was determined to make it more interesting, and so I rewrote it using a “pantoum” structure and a second person perspective to directly address the reader. I also mixed up the phrasing and punctuation. Through these revisions, this final version was born. Though I don’t consider myself a good poet, I feel that this poem achieved what I wanted: to evoke a certain feeling through a set of precise images.”

-Rachel McKimmy

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