The wind howled and shook the flimsy tent walls
As the cold of winter gripped at her,
No matter how many blankets and coats,
No matter how tightly she wrapped them,
Warmth was a faint and long-ago dream.
Tents were never made for winter,
Especially not for families,
Children cried, sick ones moaned,
And every morning another did not awaken,
Cold and frozen forever.
It seemed their winter had begun long before,
Months had stretched back in an empty blur,
Christmas but a half-forgotten memory,
Cold snow the constant companion and jailer,
And yet it was but a scarce six weeks past.
There had been much revelry and joy
Amid their city of tents,
No snow nor cold could keep them from singing,
Ale and meat had appeared,
Music and dancing had followed.
But then the feast had passed and the New Year set in,
Bringing only more misery and death,
Pain of hunger, pain of cold, pain of loss,
A spring that seemed much too far away,
And no one knew what would happen when it came.
But still she drifted off to sleep,
Dreaming of the songs of joy,
The hymns of praise, the warmth of the ale,
And her husband’s strong arms
As he twirled her in the dance.
It was not yet their turn to leave behind the cold.