Poetry: Winter Musings

By Jan Hudson Krueger


What does the cottage think about when we're gone?

When the piles of snow cover paths, roofs and decks,

What does the cottage think of while we're away? Photo by Gail Burstyn, Lylis Designs

What does the cottage think of while we're away? Photo by Gail Burstyn, Lylis Designs

When the songbirds have fled to the warmer climes

As have we,

Does the cabin miss us?


Do its windows glaze over in frosted sorrow

Or its rafters creak and cry as biting winds swirl about

Or the bricks in the chimney crumble a bit 

In our absence?

Does it think we have abandoned it forever

As the pet dog surely does as we leave for work?


Or is the cottage imbued with a higher power,

A deeper understanding,

A timber-and-stone memory of ages and
Generations past and present?

Does it remember our returns each barely-there Spring  

As the ice and snow fade 

And the first loon calls from the bay?


Perhaps the pines and the oaks sing 

Long winter songs for it,

And the docks warble from the shoreline below.

And the cottage reciprocates with stories of us,

Of our celebrations and calamities and
Frivolities and fun

Under the Summer sun


Maybe it sighs, thinking of quiet times when its people

Worked on a jigsaw puzzle or snuggled under dusty Throws on the ancient couch to
Disappear into a really good book,

Or when the ones who fish get their tackle together  

And repair the lines and clean the reels


The cottage might ask the bedrooms to retell passages  

From Treasure Island and Harry Potter,

As they were read to swim-worn children,
Drowsy and nodding off.  

The grandmother-made quilts and 

Striped flannel sheets  

Recall tiny fingers and toes 

Tucking in under their warmth


Maybe it remembers the more raucous times

With the UNO games and the Rumoli matches,

The meals and the melees and carryings-on

And it would mimic our shouts and laughter

That still echo off the knotty walls.


It might twitch and get itchy as the 

Dust motes settle and gather on surfaces, 

And yearn for the May day when we 

Sweep in to sweep up, to vacuum and wash down,

To hang out the throw rugs and throw out the cobwebs

And wake it up again.

What does the cottage think of  

While we're away?