The Old One and the Wind









She loves the wind. There on the edge of the known world, at ninety, In her tall house, any wildness in the elements Is as welcome as an old friend. When the surgically patched elms and sycamores Crack off their heavy limbs in the freak snow storm Of October, she rejoices; the massy hail That drives craters into her groomed lawn Stirs her sluggish heart to a riot of beating.

A cluster of cottonwood trees in the swale Of the prairie, oasis now in a desert of wheat fields, Is all that is left of the home place. No one Is left to remember the days there with her:

The playhouse sheltered behind the cowshed, The whirlwinds that made a column of corn shucks, Winters when snow brushed out all the fences, Springs when the white of the snow turned to daisies, Wind-bent as were the urchins who picked them.

To her in the tall house in the tame town, the wind That escapes the windbreaks of man's constructing Blows from a distance beyond the young's conceiving, Is rife with excitements of the world's beginning

And its end.

(C) Clarice Short
  • After reading aloud "The Old One and the Wind," write a poem that begins with "I love the wind..."  Allow the words to blow you where they will!
  • In what ways is your life too tame? In what ways does the wild call to you?
  • Write about a time you experience a wild weather event--a snow storm, a high wind, a thunderous sky. Write about it in the first person, present tense, "I am..." After you've completed your piece, reflect back on what it tells you about your own relationship to wildness.