The West Wind

A weekly poem, read by the author.
June 20 2001 3:00 AM

The West Wind

When the winter wind
moves through the ash trees
in my yard I hear
the past years calling
in the pale voices
of the air. The words,
caught in the branches,
echo a moment
before they fade out.
The wind calms, the trees
go back to being
merely trees and not
seven messengers
from another world,
if that's what they were.
The alder, older,
harbors a few leaves
from last fall, black, curled,
a silent chorus
for all those we've left
behind. Suddenly
at my back I feel
a new wind come on,
chilling, relentless,
with all the power
of loss, the meaning
unmistakable.

 

Philip Levine's book of poems The Simple Truth won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995.

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Dec. 19 2014 4:15 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? Staff writer Lily Hay Newman shares what stories intrigued her at the magazine this week.