"Winter Song for One Who Suffers"

A Poem by Brenda Hillman

"Winter Song for One Who Suffers"

Brenda Hillman

November 30, 2020


Published in the The New Yorker print edition of the December 7, 2020, issue.

Click here to Listen to Audio: Read by the author.

The stars stand up

behind the day. A known dove balances

on its claw

at the window. A cosmic incident

of darkness has begun


 & a mild excess of beauty   will be offered to the dead,  which they will eat. On a hill


the wise man serves the people, your thought splits in half when he speaks of the old revolts, the return of apocalypse, motive & advancement.


   A soul can crouch   a long time while the heart  expands to reach its edges. What is missing past the glitter of the harvest?      Friend, you chose to live. How? You did. So many choices, not just two, encrypted behind the mystery of the sun,


then the hurt was set aside,  indeterminate chaos called in by love.

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In the shadow of your wings, I take refuge.

Psalm 57:1