Wind Music

Safe inside, we listen to the howling wind
as it rips up foliage and tears limb from limb
branches from ancient birch and oak.

Ghostly draughts creep into every nook
and cranny, they squeeze under doors
and whistle dirges down the chimney.

Outside, the wind, still duetting with the trees,
sighs in more steadfast branches
and rustles piles of fallen leaves.

Kim M. Russell, 22nd October 2020

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My response to dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar: Let your words ring out

Peter, our host this Thursday, starts his prompt with a quote from Wallace Stevens:  ‘sound is the principal business of poetry’, which is true whether you read poetry silently to yourself or read it aloud. Peter has explored three cool things about sound and given us a fun exercise.

The first cool thing is scientific. He says that MRI studies have shown that, unlike prose, poetry is processed by both hemispheres of the brain, and areas associated with memory, introspection and music appreciation all light up when people read poetry. He has illustrated this with a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

The second cool thing is that English is relatively impoverished for sound, which means we improvise with onomatopoeia, alliteration, assonance, sibilance, rhyme, rhythm, and repetition. Examples are from Gwendoline Brooks and Omar Sakr.

The final cool thing is extreme sounding, Welsh poetry and one of my all-time favourites, Dylan Thomas, whose prose is just a poetic as his poetry.  I can see and hear the Welsh influence in the example of Australian poet Melinda Smith’s ‘Submergence’.

How can we fail to be inspired to write poems with a focus on sounds? Peter asks us to look at a poem in our draft pile that needs a sound lift or write something new. The important thing is to listen for those sounds by reading our drafts out loud, reading them to partners, neighbours, cats or dogs.

55 thoughts on “Wind Music

  1. I love, love, love the sounds in this stanza:

    “Outside, the wind, still duetting with the trees,
    sighs in more steadfast branches
    and rustles piles of fallen leaves.”

    The darkness in this piece captivates me. Very beautifully and solemnly written. I’m getting a lot of gray imagery in this poem.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Lucy. We’ve had some grey windy days recently, which I like to observe from inside, even when the wind joins me! We live in a very old cottage with the requisite draughts and ghosts.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hear this scene! This line “whistle dirges down the chimney.” and the last two are my favorites. I do love sound in a poem and “wind music” is such a wonderfully descriptive title for this poem.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. ‘Outside, the wind, still duetting with the trees’. I think that’s a great line, Kim. I visualised a house somewhere near the exposed North Norfolk coast getting battered! Very well done.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Carol. Being so flat, Norfolk seems to get a lot of strong gales, especially off the coast,. I love the sounds, although they can be very intimidating and usually mean power cuts.

      Like

  4. Your word-smithing and alliteration work well. My favorite lines have been already noted. ( it seems to take me longer to write and post, so I arrive a tad late.) Your “wind music” was so realistic, I imagined a power outage as trees wrestle with power lines.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This captures the sound and image of the wind beautifully. Made me rather glad to be rugged up nice and warm, rather than out on a windy night (and very glad it isn’t the sort of wind that tears limb from limb), thank you for the great poem.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m a windhog, love standing in it, no matter how frigid, no matter how humid. I was just writing about it last night, but nothing I jotted down is as fine as what you’ve shared with us here tonight. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m a windhog, love standing in it, no matter how frigid, no matter how humid. I was just writing about it last night, but nothing I jotted down is as fine as what you’ve shared with us here tonight. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kim, I know that feeling, where it is raging outside and my ears are hyper-vigilant wondering it there will be a crash on the house or to be plunged into darkness. You captured the sounds and feel of that wind so well.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I can hear the wind howling in your great poem, bringing cold weather and falling leaves and limbs. Your word sounds were perfect. I love this…
    Ghostly draughts creep into every nook
    and cranny, they squeeze under doors
    and whistle dirges down the chimney.

    Liked by 2 people

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