Mindful Monday: Frigid Gizzards

I was in the mood for a winter poem for today's Mindful Monday post. I looked for something spare, ancient, Zen-like, and haiku-y. Instead, I found a contemporary, cranky, tragicomic poem whose vivid images, seemingly straight out of Fargo, made me laugh for some dark reason. Enjoy!

A Severe Lack Of Holiday Spirit
by Amy Gerstler

I dread the icy white concussion
of winter. Each snowfall demands
panic, like a kidnapper's hand
clapped over my chapped mouth.
Ice forms everywhere, a plague
of glass. Christmas ornaments'
sickly tinkle makes my molars ache.
One pities the anemic sun
come January. Trees go skeletal.
Children born in the chilly months
are apt to stammer. People hit
the sauce in a big way all winter.
Amidst blizzards they wrestle
unsuccessfully with the dark comedy
of their lives, laughter trapped
in their frigid gizzards. Meanwhile,
the mercury just plummets,
like a migrating duck blasted
out of the sky by some hunter
in a cap with fur earflaps.


What are you noticing today about your experience of winter or the holidays?

Christmas Continued...

for Mindful Monday

© December 29, 2014, post: Donna Pierce
Source: Gerstler, Amy. Medicine. NY: Penguin Books, 2000.
Photo credit: "Christmas Continued," Jeff Golden, 2009.

Categories: Poetry Spirituality


  1. jrcowles said on December 29, 2014
    Donna this poem is utterly PRICELESS. In fact, I'm pretty sure it has displaced Wallace Stevens' "The Snowman" as my favorite winter poem, though you might want to google or bing up the latter, which is still pretty ... arresting. Yours, though, I'm gonna print off separately & keep. Thanks! J.
    1. hannah said on December 29, 2014
      Glad you like it! I almost went with "The Snowman" because of its Zen-emptiness tones, but once I came across Gerstler's gem, there was simply no contest!
  2. Curious to the Max said on December 29, 2014
    I would bet Gerstler has a "histrionic personality disorder" which makes her my kinda gal! Thanks for making me smile.

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