“Poetry is a life cherishing force” so writes Mary Oliver. Her prose poem “West Wind” is a deeply passionate treatise on love and asks the burning question, what does it feel like to live a life of love? What is the alternative? Well…as a compliment/alternative to West Wind I have written a poem with the same title.
It has been written of Oliver’s poem (though not by her) that it is the wiser part of yourself counselling the younger. I disagree, in fact I see it as the reverse, or more accurately the young counselling the young. For evidence look at her final two or three lines:
“when you feel the mist on your mouth and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls plunging and steaming – then row, row for your life toward it”
To me this smacks of impulse and infatuation, often attributed to the young (though not exclusively). So yes my poem “West Wind” redresses the balance of the emotion of the moment. I’m not trying to be wise after the event here, more the view of experience.
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