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The Wind Edward Shanks









The Wind

Edward Shanks

Blow harder, wind, and drive

My blood from hands and face back to the heart.

Cry over ridges and down tapering coombs,

Carry the flying dapple of the clouds

Over the grass, over the soft-grained plough,

Stroke with ungentle hand the hill's rough hair

             Against its usual set.

Snatch at the reins in my dead hands and push me

Out of my saddle, blow my labouring pony

Across the track. You only drive my blood

Nearer the heart from face and hands, and plant there,

Slowly burning, unseen, but alive and wonderful,

             A numb, confusèd joy!

This little world's in tumult. Far away

The dim waves rise and wrestle with each other

And fall down headlong on the beach. And here

Quick gusts fly up the funnels of the valleys

And meet their raging fellows on the hill-tops,

             And we are in the midst.

This beating heart, enriched with the hands' blood,

Stands in the midst and feels the warm joy burn

In solitude and silence, while all about

The gusts clamour like living, angry birds,

And the gorse seems hardly tethered to the ground.

             Blow louder, wind, about

My square-set house, rattle the windows, lift

The trap-door to the loft above my head

And let it fall, clapping. Yell in the trees,

And throw a rotted elm-branch to the ground,

Flog the dry trailers of my climbing rose — 

             Make deep, O wind, my rest!