It is often said that great art is created during troubled times, so it should come as no surprise that Barnard — well-known for its alumnae writers — has seen this trend continue as the “twin pandemics” of COVID-19 and a renewed focus on racial injustice and violence sweep the world. In this new limited series, Barnard community members share poems and songs that speak to this unique moment in time. (If you would like to contribute, please email

Today, Katherine Freedman ’13 reads her poem “Spring and Winter.” 

Spring and Winter 

New York,
you are so beautiful.
End of April twilight
Central Park

Your bridges gleaming,
your birds chirping, 
your ponds shimmering. 
The Beresford, Dakota 
majestic in the distance

Majestic and empty
like ships discovered on the ocean floor 
or the fossils of some great animal.

New York, 
you are beautiful
and hurting.
I want to give your hand a squeeze,
but I can’t get too close. 

North now, 
to the field hospital.

What would Olmsted and Vaux think
of the white tents 
that sprung up
with the daffodils?
Of the strange contrast
of spring and winter?  

An odd spring it is
some mellow evenings, sunset smeared 
in lovely, hopeful patterns 
some icy evenings 
where I bundle in my winter coat.   

There’s a battle deep within you, 
invisible to the human eye.
But tonight
is one of the mellow evenings.
Tonight I can close my eyes and still see the lights
of the sunset.