There’s a northern sense of pride
in battling winter and surviving
minus forty, minus fifty,
icy fog and snowy drifts. We
soldier on in our uniforms;
long underwear to keep us warm,
and scoff at tender souls who live
in milder climes and shake and shiver
at minus five and have to close
the city down for an inch of snow.
We post the current temperature;
a brag of what we can endure;
a challenge to post a lower number,
to northern soldiers in other bunkers.
Year after year we earn our stripes
through furnace fails and frozen pipes,
when trucks die and the power goes out
you discover what cold is all about.
We’ve fed the woodstove through the night
and melted snow by candlelight.
We’ve earned our medals in the ice and cold
but the years roll on and we’re getting old
and we’ve paid our dues and we’ve fought our fight
and we just want a little bit more sunlight.
It’s not retreating, just retiring
to a place where the temperature is higher.
I leave the struggle to the young
who have the strength to carry on.
Old soldiers who’ve battled winter and won,
Deserve their moments in the sun.