Wind Doth Blow
the dunes would not be shaped.
The Samoon shouldering
poisoning the mauve of the night
pumicing hillocks into sand drifts
sand-piles into hazel knolls.
Crimping, pleating, kneading
fawn grit into ribbons of pleasure
- a welcome tribute to the rising sun.
Without the wind
sand would be locked in its stifling grain.
Deep between us too,
the hot siroccos of forced silences
the cold Bise, chipping our eyes to stony flints
the foehns enveloping us in dryness
the Gibli- that tickles more than anything else
and the sensational, liberating monsoon winds -
binding, repairing, brokenness of every kind.
Despite the windows,
without the winds,
we'd be trapped.
'How many times have I told you-'
The door bangs behind the boy. There's no telling him. He's fifteen now, sure that he knows better than his mother. And angry. Mighty angry.
She's angry too, though she tries not to let the boy see it. Knows he has enough demons of his own. Would have, at his age, even if the man had not left them. Left them here three miles up the last valley in Wales, in a constant swirl of rain and wind.
The day they first saw the house it wasn't like that. They'd driven up into a haze of summer, pulled off their shoes and waded across the stream into a meadow where they'd lain back and gazed up into a blue that was almost unbearably pellucid. The man had pulled himself up, leant on one elbow and looked down at her:'A fresh start,' he'd said. And she'd believed his promises, because how could she not on such a day, in such a place?
She still believed in him when they arrived, even though the summer had passed and the first gusts of autumn blew in the door behind them and clustered in the chimney and howled in the night.
'It's nothing,' he said, pulling her close when she woke and whimpered. 'Old houses have creaks. This place has been standing for five hundred years. It'll outlive us.'
Next day the sun was back, but it lit the dust, made her see how much work they had to do. She had to do, for the man was off, away in the week.
'I'll sort it out,' he said, when they discovered there was no Broadband in the valley.
'For goodness sake don't go on about it,' he said, when she said she thought he'd checked that before they bought the place.
So she said no more, because there were enough other things to worry about, what with the boy turning into someone she didn't know.
'It's hormones,' the man said. 'He'll settle down.'
As if he knew. As if he saw. As if he cared.
She said that to him, because she was frightened, what with the man not being there, and the boy out roaming on the mountain instead of going to school, and her left alone with the crying of the wind.
'You don't realise,' she said.
He said he was doing his best, but she could tell there was something else. Someone else. She found receipts when she was sorting out clothes for washing, emptying pockets. It made him angry, her saying, her asking. And it was no good reminding him that he promised her a fresh start.
And then he left. In the darkest month.
'How could you do this to us?' she said.
'I'm sorry,' he said.
He held her, one last time, and he sobbed. But she pushed him away, told him to go, that they'd be better off without him. Outside the wind was howling. It made her laugh, the irony of it.
It's been weeks. She doesn't laugh much now. Watches as the rain and the wind buffet the house. But today, with the boy out, she makes a decision. Decides she will not let the man's weakness pull her down. When the boy comes back he'll be calmer, after shouting into the wind. She'll talk to him then, ask where he'd like to go. And they'll make a plan. A plan to get out from under this hill.
Featured Entry by JB
Incredulously, it is the year of 2022 and, once more, there is war in Europe. I sit alone looking at my history books on the shelf and feel the cold, icy gloom creep through my body and into my soul. Family photographs nestle next to great works by authors such as Max Hastings and Anthony Beevor. My grandfather, seriously wounded in the muddy trenches of the Somme, died without me ever seeing him. My father, veteran of the Pacific campaign against the Japanese, lost his brother to the Nazis in the waters of the Mediterranean. Sacrifice such as this bought us decades of peace and allowed such fortunate souls such as me the chance to pursue a happy and relatively luxurious existence. And now, no more than a few hours' flight away, innocent people are losing everything ... their homes, their possessions, their friends, family and their identity. For what? For the aspirations of a power crazed maniac bent on reconciling the humiliation he felt with the fall of the Berlin Wall and its aftermath. History repeats itself.
Clearly, the wind doth blow. It blows from the scheming interior of the Kremlin into the heart of Ukraine, gripping a democratic country in a vice of subjugation. This evil wind, summoned by the command of one dictator, blows away the freedoms of a nation and threatens many more.
And what can I do? Money sent to the Red Cross and my blue and yellow flag on the gate to my property are miniscule morsels of efforts I've made to show support for those people suffering the disaster that is unfolding a thousand miles away to the east. Today, here at home the weather is cold and grey and I'm snug before a warm fire surrounded by my worldly possessions, a kitchen full of food and everything else I need. The TV tells me that Putin has put nuclear status on high alert. I reach to my library and read Raymond Briggs' book, "When the wind blows." and start to cry. Mired in a hollow of depression I ask myself what can I do. I play some music from those heady, carefree days of my youth in the 1960s. How prescient of Bob Dylan to wail, "How many times must the cannonballs fly before they are forever banned ... And how many times can a man turn his head and pretend he just doesn't see? ... The answer is blowin in the wind"