Gillian Clarke – Especially When the October Wind

giullainDeveloping Dylan 100 proudly co-publish this poem by Gillian Clarke, the National Poet of Wales, written in response to Dylan Thomas. It was originally published online by Sheffield’s Off the Shelf Festival of Words, as part of Shedloads of Work. It’s a specially-commissioned poem influenced and inspired by Dylan Thomas as part of the centenary celebrations, funded by Arts Council England. Especially When the October Wind Especially when the October wind roars woken from the wild Atlantic salt on its breath, scrawling italics on the cloud-stirred face of the pond, alliterates the sky with flocks of birds, herds a huddle of sheep against the hedge, breathes sibilants through rushes, reeds and sedge, beneath migrating murmurations of words; when after gold September the wind wakes, shakes the crows, a pair of kites, throws gulls shining back to sea like flights of angels; when it sees the careful garden taken apart, death-decomposing and returned to earth; when it puts the devil in the blackberries we left ungathered, drives days and words to drifts, undoes the trees, to die before rebirth. Imagine no songs and the heart deaf, the mind silent, when winds won’t wake and words won’t sing, and seas no longer break over this hill, this house, this roof, no dying light, or loose-gold-falling leaves, no weather, no day or night, no season shortening, or narrowing light, no coming winter, or following spring. Especially after the longest night, the shortest day, in the first fall of snow lie all remembered winters long ago, a dark world’s transfiguration as white as the first page. Alive in the dying year, I make my music out of words the wind brings, whatever season sings, whatever weather over the heart breaks. Gillian Clarke off the shelf header