The Winter Nights Are Best

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The winter nights are best:
Her floors are swept
back and forth
and back again
with heaps of snow.
Her wind howls
like timber wolves
in some cold, inhuman land.

She’s almost thought
to be, in her heart, a beast,

But her snow
drifts too deep;
her wind blows too strong,

and weakness flees
the human heart again.


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

18 responses to “The Winter Nights Are Best

  1. What a wonderful winter poem.
    “Her wind howls
    like timber wolves”
    Such a strong metaphor.

  2. It is freezing in the UK at the moment – really enjoyed the poem.

  3. dfb

    Beautiful! And I agree, winter CAN be king… sometimes.

  4. Wonderful celebration of how winter’s cold and snows cleanses our hearts and braces us. “The bracing cold” was a phrase I have heard from my youth as a way of celebrating the cleansing acts of winter cold on insects, molds, mildews, rots and decays–all of which can also reside in a heart too cosseted in the tropics of physical “comfort”.

  5. These are good ideas. Thank you. Ethel

  6. I felt a primordial spirit blowing in this one – sweeping “her” floors, bringing on a howl. When weakness flees the human heart – does it leave behind strength? Or…. I sense a double meaning here. Another wonderful poem, Ethel!

  7. I like the picture of this woman who is cold as snow with a weakness at her heart… she sounds interesting!

  8. Cold is comfortable under a comforter, one small convenience of “civilization”…

  9. sandy

    The perfect description!

  10. Giving her heart even as the snow deepens and the wind blows harder. Very brave. I enjoyed this poem very much.

  11. How do you come up with these! Just wonderful!

  12. It is a cold winters day here –
    Temperature below zero, but the sun is shining.
    It is a day for getting well wrapped up (rugged up my Australian friends would say) and walking on the pier – allowing the cold to take away again those weaknesses in the human heart.

    An inspirational poem Ethel


  13. I agree with this; winter nights ARE best

  14. A wonderful wild cleansing that throws things into stark relief

  15. There’s strength in winter that calls forth our own answering strength.

  16. I love your observational and visionary style here, Ethel!

  17. I love the ending of the poem. It is in the difficult times that hearts become strong.

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