January 2018

For the first time I ignore the wind
whistling a haunting incidental
down the chimney:
­                                  Change the tune.
You don’t scare me. I am
shielded more by word and rhyme
the more you blow at me
to fear you.
­                                  And the wind,
this time, drops and leaves
an almost silence.

Kim M. Russell, 2018

Image result for Famous illustrations of windy weather
Image found on Pinterest

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar: Guest Prompt

Jill is our guest host this week and she tells us that she has recently been rereading How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch.  She says that, in the first chapter, Hirsch talks about the relationship between the poet (writer) and the reader and refers to it as being a form of communication between two strangers, often across time, space and cultures.

Jill remembers a moment in a literature class when she first read Christopher Marlowe’s famous The Passionate Shepherd to His Love and the response, A Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd, written by Sir Walter Raleigh a few years later. These two poems take the communication between writer and reader a step further because Raleigh’s poem is in direct reply to Marlowe’s poem.

Our challenge is to write a poem that is a direct reply to another poem.  While Raleigh kept Marlowe’s form and meter, it would certainly not be necessary to do that.  However, Jill would like us to test our poetic limits by mirroring the form of the original poem. 

I received a book for Christmas, entitled A Poem for Every Day of the Year, edited by Allie Esiri, and the poem for 18th January is ‘January’ by William Carlos Williams:

 Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:­
­                                  Play louder.
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
­                                  And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.

43 thoughts on “January 2018

  1. WCW! He is one of my favorites; so glad you chose him for this challenge, Kim. And what you did with it is sheer brilliance! “whistling a haunting incidental” – I had to read that line several times just for the joy of how you crafted it. Your poem made me want to rush into the wind, laughing and chanting. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sarah! We had such a palaver trying to get my husband to work in my car this morning (his has gone in for its MOT). First of all I was kept awake by the wind knocking against the wall of the house right outside our bedroom; then, the window blew open and I had to get out of bed to close it; just as I got back to sleep my husband’s supervisor called to ask him to go in early due to wind damage at the gas terminal where he works; and then, in the dark, howling wind and rain, on the various lanes up to the coast we were thwarted by two fallen trees and a building that had collapsed onto the road! I was looking forward to my first visit to the chiropodist, but the wind even put a stop to that – it blew tiles off her roof and she couldn’t keep the appointment!


  2. If anything can get us to tune out the noisy wind of life, writing can! I like how in your poem you grapple with the distraction and if you don’t entirely succeed in tuning it out, you can console yourself with the joy of having gotten some excellent writing out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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