The Power of W


This is the way it is. We live in the wind
when we are not sheltering from it, so its voice
is in our ear from infancy, whispering
transparent incantations. We know the alphabet
of air currents in our waking and our sleeping.
We take comfort from the breezes rippling
across winter wheat. We hear in the weathered reaches
of memory sounds that weave patterns in existence,
warp and woof--the whickering of an otherwise
forgotten horse, the whine of truck wheels on the highway,
the throaty whistle of a stream train, the weird sizzle
of hot metal being welded, the cheers of well-wishers,
the wicked note of sarcasm and the bitter twist of hostility,
the scratch of a pen on writing paper, the wail of ambulances,
fire and smoke crackling through dry summer weeds,
the pulse of metal springs wound up and then released,
the chock of hammer on wedge splitting white pine
into kindling, the splatter as the river overflows the weir,
the splash of waterfalls, the rasp of blade on whetstone,
the whipcrack of a snapping tree branch.

And there are words we use to name our sorrows--
waiting, woeful, rueful, wistful, wishful thinking,
waving goodbye--and our jubilations--wonderful,
well-satisfied, a thousand welcomes.
This world is weighed down with water,
its waist wrapped tight with oceans, but the wide skies
are alive with the rain's wet music. The W courses
through us like the currents of our blood. It furnishes
the wedding song the yellow warbler in the willow tree
delivers. Wednesday is the warm heart of the week.
The keeper of the W is the warden of wonder.


North American Review, 290, 1 (January-February 2005): 15.
© 2003 by Kevin Berland

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