poem index

It Depends on the Wind English 223 Ian Rosoff

Poems that look at relationships in the context of the wind and cold.
It Depends on the Wind English 223 Ian Rosoff
next
The Red Wheelbarrow
William Carlos Williams, 1883 - 1963
so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.
It Depends on the Wind English 223 Ian Rosoff
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O Captain! My Captain!
Walt Whitman, 1819 - 1892
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather'd every rack,
      the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
      While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart!
      O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.
      O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up- for you the flag is flung- for
      you the bugle trills, 
                                  
         For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths- for you the shores
             a-crowding,
          For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
             Here Captain! dear father!
               This arm beneath your head!
                 It is some dream that on the deck,
                   You've fallen cold and dead.

          My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
          My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
          The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
          From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
               Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
                 But I with mournful tread,
                   Walk the deck my Captain lies,
                     Fallen cold and dead.
It Depends on the Wind English 223 Ian Rosoff
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Dear Miss Emily
James Galvin, 1951
I knew the end would be gone before I got there.
After all, all rainbows lie for a living.
And as you have insisted, repeatedly,
The difference between death and the Eternal 
Present is about as far as one 
Eyelash from the next, not wished upon.
Rainbows are not forms or stories, are they?
They are not doors ajar so much as far—
Flung situations without true beginnings
Or any ends—why bother—unless, as you 
Suggest—repeatedly—there's nothing wrong
With this life, and we should all stop whining.
So I shift my focus now on how to end
A letter. In XOXOXO,
For example, Miss, which are the hugs
And which the kisses? Does anybody know?
I could argue either way: the O's
Are circles of embrace, the X is someone
Else's star burning inside your mouth;
Unless the O is a mouth that cannot speak,
Because, you know, it's busy.
X is the crucifixion all embraces
Are, here at the nowhere of the rainbow's end,
Where even light has failed its situation,
Slant the only life it ever had,
Where even the most gallant sunset can't
Hold back for more than a nonce the rain-laden
Eastern sky of night. It's clear. It's clear.
X's are both hugs and kisses, O's
Where stars that died gave out, gave up, gave in—
Where no one meant the promises they made.
Oh, and one more thing. I send my love
However long and far it takes—through light,
Through time, thorough all the faithlessness of men,

James Augustin Galvin,

              X,

His mark.
It Depends on the Wind English 223 Ian Rosoff
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Footprint on Your Heart
Gary Lenhart
Someone will walk into your life,
Leave a footprint on your heart,
Turn it into a mudroom cluttered
With encrusted boots, children's mittens,
Scratchy scarves—
Where you linger to unwrap 
Or ready yourself for rough exits 
Into howling gales or onto 
Frozen car seats, expulsions
Into the great outdoors where touch
Is muffled, noses glisten,
And breaths stab,
So that when you meet someone
Who is leaving your life
You will be able to wave stiff
Icy mitts and look forward
To an evening in spring
When you can fold winter away
Until your next encounter with
A chill so numbing you strew
The heart's antechamber
With layers of rural garble.
It Depends on the Wind English 223 Ian Rosoff
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The World as Seen Through a Glass of Ice Water
Dobby Gibson
There are a billion reasons to look down
into a casket, but just one way to lie in it dead,
which proves there isn't anything 
you can think of that isn't here for the living,
who are each alive for a short time
in a very different way. 
After she moves out, one tears up grass blades
to watch which way the wind blows.
Just over there, another buried his favorite dog
and now look at that tree! 
Would you like to model for me?
says the lousy painter 
to every woman who walks within earshot.
Feeling a little dead?
Maybe you spend a weekend 
faking a French accent,
maybe you buy an even more expensive stereo
and build a separate and self-sufficient world
inside the garage. 
Something happens something happens something happens.
Repetition repetition repetition. 
The saddest painting I ever saw 
was on the carpet in my friend's hallway
where he tripped one night
carrying a gallon of red.
This was just before the divorce.
Just after he told me he was trapped 
inside some idea of himself,
one he swore bore no relation
to what the rest of us had been seeing.
"Nice shirt" has always meant too many things.
It Depends on the Wind English 223 Ian Rosoff
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The Wind Blows Through the Doors of My Heart
Deborah Digges, 1950 - 2009
The wind blows
through the doors of my heart.
It scatters my sheet music
that climbs like waves from the piano, free of the keys.
Now the notes stripped, black butterflies,
flattened against the screens.
The wind through my heart
blows all my candles out.
In my heart and its rooms is dark and windy.
From the mantle smashes birds' nests, teacups
full of stars as the wind winds round,
a mist of sorts that rises and bends and blows
or is blown through the rooms of my heart
that shatters the windows,
rakes the bedsheets as though someone
had just made love. And my dresses
they are lifted like brides come to rest
on the bedstead, crucifixes,
dresses tangled in trees in the rooms
of my heart. To save them
I've thrown flowers to fields,
so that someone would pick them up
and know where they came from.
Come the bees now clinging to flowered curtains.
Off with the clothesline pinning anything, my mother's trousseau.
It is not for me to say what is this wind
or how it came to blow through the rooms of my heart.
Wing after wing, through the rooms of the dead
the wind does not blow. Nor the basement, no wheezing,
no wind choking the cobwebs in our hair.
It is cool here, quiet, a quilt spread on soil.
But we will never lie down again.
It Depends on the Wind English 223 Ian Rosoff
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Four Winds
April Bernard
At least that many buffet here, and I
erect as the monument despite my hope to be flattened.
If only the winds could take the horse-sobs
that heave from me, wind-whipped
without the grace of speech; if only
these small creatures with amused, skeptical eyes
could offer me their chittering, their business
of fetching and nesting in the fields.
One day I fear the barometer's shift
will shatter the surface of the vessel,
jarring me into bloody words—catastrophe
will fill the strophe then—
Unless, winds, you take my speech and rend it
into untranslatable rainy hootings.
It Depends on the Wind English 223 Ian Rosoff
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Air In The Epic
Brenda Hillman, 1951
On the under-mothered world in crisis,
the omens agree. A Come herefollows for reader & hero through
the named winds as spirits are
lifted through the ragged colorful o's onbutterflies called fritillarics, tortoise shells &
blues till their vacation settles under
the vein of an aspen leaflike a compass needle stopped in
an avalanche. The students are moving.
You look outside the classroom whereconstruction trucks find little Troys. Dust
rises: part pagan, part looping. Try
to describe the world, you tellthem—but what is a description?
For centuries people carried the epic
inside themselves. (Past the old weatherstripping, a breeze is making some
6th-vowel sounds yyyyyy that will side
with you on the subject of syntaxas into the word wind they
go. A flicker passes by: air
let out of a Corvette tire.)Side stories leaked into the epic,
told by its lover, the world.
The line structure changed. Voices grewto the right of all that.
The epic is carried into school
then to scooped­out chairs. Scratchy holesin acoustic tiles pull whwhoo-- from
paperbacks. There's a type of thought
between trance & logic where teachersrest & the mistake you make
when you're not tired is no breathing.
The class is shuffling, something anisland drink might cure or a
citrus goddess. They were mostly raised
in tanklike SUVs called Caravan orQuest; winds rarely visited them. Their
president says global warming doesn't exist.
Some winds seem warmer here. Some.Warriors are extra light, perhaps from
ponies galloping across the plains.
Iphigenia waits for winds to start. 
Winds stowed in goatskins were meantto be released by wise men:
gusts & siroccos, chinooks, hamsins, whooshes,
blisses, katabatics, Santa Anas, & foehns.Egyptian birds were thought to be
impregnated by winds. The Chinese god
of wind has a red-&-blue caplike a Red Sox fan. Students
dislike even thinking about Agamemnon. You
love the human species when yousee them, even when they load
their backpacks early & check the
tiny screens embedded in their phones.A ponytail hodler switches with light,
beguiled. Iphigenia waits for the good.
Calphas & her father have mistaken theforms of air: Zephyr, Borcas, Eurus
the grouchy east breeze & Notos
bringer of rains. Maybe she cansee bones in the butterfly wings
before they invent the X-ray. Her
father could have removed the sails& rowed to Troy. Nothing makes
sense in war, you say. Throw
away the hunger & the war'sall gone. There's a section between
the between of joy & terror
where the sailors know they shouldn'topen the sack of winds. It
gives the gods more credit. An
oracle is just another nature. There'sa space between the two beeps
of the dump truck where the
voice can rest. Their vowels jointhe names of winds in white
acoustic tiles. A rabbit flies across
the field with Zephyr right behind.Wind comes when warm air descends.
The imagined comes from the imargined.
It Depends on the Wind English 223 Ian Rosoff
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If You Get There Before I Do
Dick Allen
Air out the linens, unlatch the shutters on the eastern side,
and maybe find that deck of Bicycle cards
lost near the sofa. Or maybe walk around
and look out the back windows first.
I hear the view's magnificent: old silent pines
leading down to the lakeside, layer upon layer
of magnificent light. Should you be hungry, 
I'm sorry but there's no Chinese takeout,
only a General Store. You passed it coming in, 
but you probably didn't notice its one weary gas pump
along with all those Esso cans from decades ago.
If you're somewhat confused, think Vermont,
that state where people are folded into the mountains
like berries in batter. . . . What I'd like when I get there
is a few hundred years to sit around and concentrate
on one thing at a time. I'd start with radiators
and work my way up to Meister Eckhart,
or why do so few people turn their lives around, so many
take small steps into what they never do,
the first weeks, the first lessons,
until they choose something other,
beginning and beginning their lives,
so never knowing what it's like to risk
last minute failure. . . .I'd save blue for last. Klein blue,
or the blue of Crater Lake on an early June morning.
That would take decades. . . .Don't forget
to sway the fence gate back and forth a few times
just for its creaky sound. When you swing in the tire swing
make sure your socks are off. You've forgotten, I expect,
the feeling of feet brushing the tops of sunflowers:
In Vermont, I once met a ski bum on a summer break
who had followed the snows for seven years and planned
on at least seven more. We're here for the enjoyment of it, he said,
to salaam into joy. . . .I expect you'll find
Bibles scattered everywhere, or Talmuds, or Qur'ans,
as well as little snippets of gospel music, chants,
old Advent calendars with their paper doors still open.
You might pay them some heed. Don't be alarmed
when what's familiar starts fading, as gradually
you lose your bearings,
your body seems to turn opaque and then transparent,
until finally it's invisible--what old age rehearses us for
and vacations in the limbo of the Middle West.
Take it easy, take it slow. When you think I'm on my way,
the long middle passage done,
fill the pantry with cereal, curry, and blue and white boxes of macaroni, place the
checkerboard set, or chess if you insist,
out on the flat-topped stump beneath the porch's shadow,
pour some lemonade into the tallest glass you can find in the cupboard,
then drum your fingers, practice lifting your eyebrows,
until you tell them all--the skeptics, the bigots, blind neighbors,
those damn-with-faint-praise critics on their hobbyhorses--
that I'm allowed,
and if there's a place for me that love has kept protected,
I'll be coming, I'll be coming too.