Tuesday Poem – How do You Know When its Cold Outside

How do you know
when it’s cold outside
if you are snug within.

Is there dew still
on window panes.
Or are the shadows

Is the sand wet
way above the tide
and the sky
pale in the water.

Have the leaves
left the trees.
And do the woolly sheep

Do the cows
stand in mud
amid the blunted grass.

Is the scrub
made flat by snow
while frost waits
in the shade.

Or is it when the light outside
says five
and yet the clock
chimes three.

(c) Helen McKinlay
I am repeating this poem, from several years back because  the main topic of conversation lately has been the unusually cold weather in New Zealand. The poem was originally inspired by a bus trip in Central Otago.

It was very cold outside but the bus was heated. I started thinking about how it was I knew it was cold outside apart from the fact that I had felt it.  After a lot of thinking I wrote the above.

For some reason wordpress will not let me put one space between the verses. I should have realised that the poem is of course cold too!  It needs time to huff and puff and blow upon its fingers, So there you are not all blogging problems are down to technical details. And in this case the poem has decided for itself how it will behave on the page. Ha got it …updated spacing March 2021

This poem was first published in ‘ Splash’, the Airing Cupboard Women’s Poetry (Christchurch) 2009 anthology.

Please return to the Tuesday Poem Hub where you will hopefully find some warm and perhaps even hot poems.  Have a great week. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem – How do You Know When its Cold Outside”

  1. It has been minus 6 in Canberra, Helen, which is just ridiculous. I had to drop my bike off for a service this morning, and the cockatoos were going mad, flocking from tree to tree. I’m sure they were just trying to warm up.

    Sometimes I find WordPress works better when I do it in HTML rather than the ‘visual’ mode, for things like spacing.

    On the other hand, the snowy white between the stanzas seems appropriate.

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