Study Guide

Windigo Stanza 1

By Louise Erdrich

Stanza 1

Lines 1-5

You knew I was coming for you, little one,
when the kettle jumped into the fire.
Towels flapped on the hooks,
and the dog crept off, groaning,
to the deepest part of the woods.

  • From the first line we can see that there is an "I"—the poem's speaker—and a "you," whom the speaker is addressing. Judging from Erdrich's introduction, this ominous opening stanza, and the poem's title, we can infer that the speaker here is the Windigo. Spooky. 
  • The "you" in the poem, this "little one," seems to know that the Windigo is approaching. And the dog seems to know what's up as well. Where does this intuition come from? It's not clear just yet.
  • This opening stanza brims with rich imagery. Erdrich creating a foreboding, shadowy atmosphere. That's fitting, we suppose, for a flesh-eating wintry beast of death. 
  • Kettles jumping, towels flapping, dogs groaning and creeping off into the deep, dark woods… does this sound like the beginning of a horror movie to you? Because this definitely sounds like the beginning of a horror movie to us. We will be reading the rest of the poem with the lights on. But you are probably braver than we are.

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