James Martin Devaney

(31 May 1890 - 14 August 1976 / Sandhurst, Victoria)

Winter Westerlies


Leaning against the wind across the paddock ways
comes Dan home with forward stoop like a man bent and old,
clashes the door in haste as one pursued: 'By Christ, it's cold!'
and crooks his fingers to the blaze.

We do not live these days, but each exhausting day
unnerved we numbly wait return of life, and must abide
the wind, the still beleaguering wind; all voices else outside
imperioulsy it has blown away.

Over the bronze-brown paddocks the grass is bowed flat down;
along the birdless creek a cold malevolence has passed;
a forlorn sparrow clings on the fence against the icy blast,
his soft breast feathers loosely blown.

We watch the saplings buffeted without repose,
their foliage all on one side, plunging without rest,
stems leaning all one way from the assailing west,
bending as backs cower from blows.

The hunched cattle no longer feeding dejected stand
with dumb endurance, tails to the flogging wind hour after hour;
from some far frozen hell of winds a blind and souless power
invades and harries all the land.

The Wind! The Wind! It fumbles at the fastened panes,
fills, and posseses all, a tyranny without control;
ceaseless, changeless, malign, searching into the very soul,
the rushing desolation reigns.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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