Freezing to Death – Alone and Afraid

So cold; so painfully cold

Freezing; alone and afraid

Death waits patiently 

Whispering a haunting dirge

Eyes heavy while ice gathers

Flesh and hair permanently joined

Disoriented and all alone

Wandering with purpose

Footsteps obscured by angry squalls

Hours pass, maybe minutes

It’s getting hard to decide,

Time is slipping away

My slow-motion physical collapse

On display for an audience of one

Each breath, labored and painful

Lungs aching, head swimming

Too tired to shout for assistance 

Too cold to bother listening,

Nothing seems to matter

Frozen air killing me from the inside 

Icy winds attacking on the outside

And yet still I stumble,

Blinded by blowing snow

Directionless and exhausted

Every step going nowhere

Mountain features masked in white

Ghosts watching from every outcropping

Reconciliations of past transgressions 

Seeking forgiveness and apologies

To no one in particular 

Slow-motion and vertigo

Looking up pulls me further down

Hope sinking with every step

Legs moving but without feeling

Survival instincts mechanized 

One step and another and another

Keep moving to keep surviving

Whiteout with no shelter

Those two choices are all that remains

Choose to live or surrender and die

Hands failing and arms numbing

Core temperature falling

Aching turning to burning

Burning evolving into nothingness

An end-game where pain goes to die

Finality but another stage

Flooded by imaginary warmth

Comfort before complete collapse 

Each step seems lighter

Hope once again creeps in

And I can see sunlight in the distance…

Latest posts by R J Schwartz (see all)

R J Schwartz

I write about everything and sometimes nothing at all. I'm fascinated by old things, rusty things, abandoned places, or anywhere that a secret might be unearthed. I'm passionate about history and many of my pieces are anchored in one concept of time or another. I've always been a writer, dating back to my youth, but the last decade has been a time of growth for me. I'm continually pushing the limitations of vocabulary, syntax, and descriptive phrasing.

3 thoughts on “Freezing to Death – Alone and Afraid

  • February 25, 2019 at 6:26 PM

    One more step, then another … keep going. Felt the cold, the icy wind, the numbness and fear, and the hope, because of your great imagery and phrasing. Well done, Ralph.

  • March 2, 2019 at 9:31 AM

    Ralph I love the terror that your poem induced in me while reading. I love hiking and climbing around the mountains with my family and you have tackled a very real issue when planning trips. Jamie


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