About Wind: a few years ago we were living in an isolated valley on the south coast of South Otago where westerly gales regularly roared down our valley. One particular winter night Nigel was away and I was home alone. I guess there’d been a barrage of wind all day but I don’t recall it now. Somewhere between 11pm and midnight I was sitting on our bed reading, and I heard a thunder clap. Soon after, there was this massive BANG right above my head and all the lights went out – complete darkness. I was absolutely petrified! To make matters worse, soon afterwards I could smell the acrid smell of something electrical burning. The smell seemed to be everywhere and I wandered around with a torch trying to find the source. Eventually I made my way into Nigel’s office and found some plastic on the floor.. checking his desk I found the portable phone had exploded (to this day the scorch mark is still on his desk). The next morning I found exactly the same thing had happened to our nearest neighbour – her portable phone had exploded leaving a huge scorch mark on the wall and she’d also heard a terrifying overhead BANG. It turned out that 33 electrical transformers in our valley had exploded that night due to lightning strikes.

There was also a line of sizable gum trees (eucalyptus) lining our driveway, owned by our neighbour and on her side of the fence. Whenever we got gale westerlies the wind would shred leaves and branches, dropping them all over the driveway. In one particularly harsh event several whole gum trees fell over (on her side, not ours).

These memories have been on my mind over the last few days as I’ve written my poem. If you haven’t already, please see my recent post  I Am Wind

My poem was written in response to a very beautiful poem  Connections  by Damien B. Donnelly. Damien blogs at:  Deuxiemepeau

Here’s a few lines from his poem:

Water Earth Air
I can be fire
The fire

I’d never thought about which element I identify with. After some consideration I decided it was Air… in the form of WIND.

Connections is about water, silence, stillness and reflection. Thinking about WIND, I recalled power, fury, noise and destruction. I was intrigued by the contrast and felt compelled to try and capture my thoughts and feelings about wind in my poem.


— Poem written by Liz Cowburn. For Damien. Response to ‘Connections’.

Please note I’ve cropped this photo. The original was taken by Ellen Jennings (South Carolina) and you can see it at her post:  Charleston Churches on a Stormy Afternoon

Restless, relentless
Cyclonic child of High and Low
Now.. gathering force
Wild Child slams the door
Windows rattle
I play with wires
(hear them sing?)
I’ll  WAKE  you

Shifting. Direction
West is best.. “Hi, I’m Gale”
Pressure’s on. I sigh, howl, moan.
Wild Child whistles
Buildings creak and groan
The Furies find their form
(batten down the hatches)
I’ll  SHAKE  you

Roaring. Rage
Banshee screams and dervish whirls
I’m a runaway freight train
Wild Child wails
I’m HIGH, screaming on the downward ride
Trees bend and sway
(wind has its way)
I’ll  SHAPE  you

Prevailing. Wind
Shredding leaves and tossing trees
Get out of my way (or I’ll blow you away)
Wild Child hums
Power games are the best fun, baby
Swing the lines and sparks’ll fly
(I’m in power, I disempower)
I’ll  BREAK  you

Subsiding, equalising
Equation finds its balance
Sum = Live fast, die young
Wild Child sighs
It’s only in
we’re seen…
We’ll  FORSAKE  you

Windshorn macrocarpa tree at Bluff near Invercargill, Southland (NZ)

Poem by Liz, weather vane photo by Ellen Jennings, tree photo by Nigel
Exploring Colour (2019)

24 thoughts on “Directions

Add yours

  1. Well this is just a powerhouse! I can’t believe I missed this and for that I am sorry but I am so happy to have read it now.
    There is the wild recklessness of a child here alright, running wild, crashing doors, making noise, finding flight. She is alive.
    And then there is perhaps another side, an adult recalling the child she wanted to be, a child looking for ways to be seen, heard, helped in flight.
    Power, determination and also a longing perhaps.
    So much comes to mind as I read this again and again, this is wild and reckless but so well crafted and so beautifully constructed. Congratulations Liz, you captured the element so well and from so many moving angles. Bravo bravo bravo 🎈

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As usual you understand so much of what’s hiding there behind the lines and thank you so much! BTW my latest post shows yesterday’s snow pics taken by Nigel and I’ve teamed them up with a poem by Kay, in ‘Let me see the day through’. We have a lot of snow!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What an amazing story of your portable phone — power and its eruptions are sometimes scary!

    I too find your poem compelling and powerful — especially with your narrative. Love the Wild Child imagery.

    And… thank you for visiting my blog — I am particularly grateful for the ‘awakening’ you brought me. I haven’t written a poem in a long while. Writing poem fills my heart with contentment, joy, peace and flexes my creative muscles. Thank you for the most welcome reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Louise! You’re very kind to pay a return visit and it so happens that you’ve found my very first “big” poem. I’m really new to poetry and produce one only occasionally. Damien (who wrote ‘Connections’ that inspired me to write this one) opened up to me a whole new universe of words that I’d somehow missed before. I can’t resist joining in from time to time!


  3. The poem really conveys the power of the wind – love it! That must have been a terrifying experience with the phone, especially at the point when you were wondering what was burning!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess I have Derrick. Our neighbour was very good at drama and when I saw her the next morning she acted out how scared she’d been the night before.. I promptly burst into tears! The event left a big impression.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha.. so we DID! And thanks for your gracious encouragement of my poetic effort. I needed the door slammed and the Wild Child arrived and said “I’ll do it.. and by the way, you should give me a line in each verse”. She was persuasive so I gave in 😉


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