They say only the south wind flattens grass

Beneath a sky as clear as an icicle,
blasted nests sway in a bitter wind
that tugs at the coat of a girl on a bicycle,

wrestles her handlebars and steals her hat,
gives the bell a cheeky little tinkle,
and stings a face already chapped.

They say only the south wind flattens grass,
but winter galloped in with a Northerly chill,
to make earth hard as iron and sky hard as brass.*

Kim M. Russell, 1st December 2020

Bicycle Bliss | Bicycle, Riding, Ride bicycle

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Tuesday Poetics: Travels in the Wild

Sarah is hosting Poetics this week with a choice of titles for our poems. She says she almost didn’t want to give us a context for them but, as they aren’t hers, she felt obliged to. I’m glad she did, as she has introduced me to a writer I would never have come across otherwise. 

Sarah invites us to take lines and make them the titles of our poems. We can use them in our poems, or our poems may take us somewhere else entirely.

* Deuteronomy 28:23: “And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.”

Image found on Pinterest

59 thoughts on “They say only the south wind flattens grass

  1. This is gorgeously rendered, Kim! I love the progression from ” blasted nests sway in a bitter wind,” to “winter galloped in with a Northerly chill,” 🙂 you took the line from Kathleen and made it your own most impressively. *swoon* ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I bet it’s even colder in Sweden, but I’m sure your homes are all kitted out for that kind of weather. In the UK, nobody is ever really prepared and snow storms are always a shock – transport stops, people get sent home from work, and electricity bills soar. At least I don’t have to leave the house for anything..


  2. I love your rhyme scheme here, and wind playing cheekily with the bell. I thought the ending was a reference to Christina Rosetti’s In the Bleak Midwinter, but she was obviously referencing Deuteronomy. I’m sure she knew her bible better than I do! This poem is delightful, and a little cheeky itself (bicycle/icicle – gorgeous!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly, dear Sarah. The wind playing with the bell was foremost in my mind when I contemplated the title, Sarah, and I couldn’t help rhyming bicycle/icicle, they just grabbed me! ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ is one of my favourite Christmas songs.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Francis. I’m not looking forward to a further drop in temperature or the sleet that’s been forecast. At least I don’t have to go out and we have enough logs for the fire.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Winter windchill makes short work of tender bits. Love the imagery and action going on here, Kim and the inclusion of the Biblical description. When the Bible makes comment on it, take heed! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There are times I miss those bitter winds and the way they make you feel so alive, but that feeling passes quickly. I love everything about this Kim! I chose the same line but wrote a golden shovel, as I have never done so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For some reason, WordPress put your comment in the trash! I’m also a bit of a southern softie, born in Surrey, my paternal grandfather was a Sussex Sayers. It’s taken me 28 years to feel at home in North Norfolk, but the wind off the North Sea can be a stinker. You’re quite right about it clearing the sky of rain, of which we had our fair share today. The temperature keeps on dropping. Keep warm, Marilyn, and stay safe and healthy too.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. If we move down near Ellen, we’ll be that much closer to my roots. Grandma and Grandpa Sayers moved from London to Hampshire when I was in my early teens and I used to stay with them in the summer holidays, my Uncle Peter still lives there, and one of my sisters lives on the Isle of Wight. I also have friends in Sussex, which would be a bonus.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve wanted to move since Ellen had Lucas. It’s such a long drive and complicated by train – I have to go on the Tube, which I dread – and our old cottage is damp and hard work. We’ve been here twenty years and there’s still so much to do. The man who owns the house next door (a holiday property) is keen on buying ours for his daughter. David has just under a year and a half until he retires, so we are seriously thinking about it. I’ve been looking at property in Hampshire and West Sussex, all a bit expensive, but you never know what might happen,

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Perhaps David’s retirement will promote a change all round. We’ve lived in cities all round the world; Peder’s retired from Maersk Shipping, so I’m quite happy to have my feet rooted where I am. We bought this house in ‘92, and kept it no matter where we were sent. I’m glad we did. Property prices are ridiculously high in the SE.

        Liked by 2 people

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