POETRY: First Winter

Celeste Benzschawel is a reporter and social-media editor here at the Peninsula Pulse weekly newspaper and a writer for Door County Living magazine. Originally from Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, she moved to Door County in May 2019 after graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Though she enjoys writing news articles, reporting on local education issues and profiling musicians, she also likes to write poetry. Benzschawel has been writing poems on and off for fun since 2010. While pursuing her degree, she served as the arts editor for the Badger Herald for one year and created a column called Stories Etc. to showcase student-submitted short stories and poetry.

For Benzschawel, poetry also goes hand in hand with songwriting. She’s been a musician since starting guitar lessons at age 10, and she’s gone on to perform in weddings, open mics, talent shows and gigs as a soloist and with her former bands, RedVed and VHS.

Experiencing her first winter in Door County has inspired another poem, naturally titled “First Winter.” 

First Winter
by Celeste Benzschawel 

The sun comes and goes as it pleases
One moment bright
Another a dull ache in the sky
It’s winter crisp
Warmth amiss 
The lonely 
Thick enough to touch 
Enough to graze its leaves
As you pass it by
Its crunch loud enough
In a quiet forest
An early darkness 
Awaits your return home

A silent snowfall
Eases being alone
You want to 
Wrap yourself up 
In blankets of snow
An adrenaline freeze and 
Inklings of danger
A welcome break
To dark nights
And empty rooms

It’s a winter slumber
Sunny days outnumbered
Counting them down
Till a sun sliver
Stays for good

Instead you get the moon
Its crescent tips sharp to the touch
Branches looming against the 
Blackened blue

When you turn around
Footprints etched
Are whisked away by quick steps
Eager to return to safety
Before Winter swallows you whole
The first one you’ve really known