Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

! What A Wild Wind Today - Poem by Michael Shepherd

What a wild wind today
in Wimbledon Park,
80 mph they say,
mischievous, shameless,
wild child, it cannot distinguish
between fun and destruction

here in the park
it does what it can with the boating lake;
but the ripples are barely waves,
and the boat club has wisely shored its boats,
no fun to be had there

but wait – here’s a woman with a covered pram
walking along the path beside the lake…
the crafty wind dies down, then
one huge gust – whew, that was a near one,
she’ll remember that next time..

now it’s spotted three laughing nuns – what fun!
it tries to lift their skirts – it knows no shame
in its innocent fun; it would most like
to turn them into whirling, spinning dervishes in black;

instead, it catches their veils, as they, laughing
as if they are being teased by their own sweet Lord,
as Krishna (would they know) by milkmaids -
turn this way and that to avoid it;
they look like startled magpies, now like
laundry on the convent clothes-line;
it would love to make them into
divine helicopters

now it’s looking round the sports field;
the cricket ball’s too heavy, no fun there;
it does its best to be twelfth man
in a soccer game, but lacks the patience
to do more than bend it to the goal; it hasn't learnt
to pass, dribble, stepover, show off..

but now it spots the tennis courts and
uses all its thwarted bowler’s skill
to turn the service and return
to swing this way and that;
the teenage boy, eyes sparkling,
joins it in the fun, a double act,
wins point after point in this windy game;
a few scarved spectators cheer on his skill.

the wind is nature’s free testing kit;
it tries every tall tree in the park
to test their roots; and they perhaps
sending a fast intelligence from branch to root,
become a little stronger if they do not fall..

now it’s moving on to test the works of man –
no need to pay consultants’ fees
to check your roof tiles; the wind will do this
more thoroughly and for free..

and now it’s spotted laundry on the line
in the back garden – here’s its chance
to play at being a human being!
it loves most of all, men’s shirts –
fills their arms like sumo wrestlers,
hunches overblown backs
like a row of fat men bending over food

and now the sun comes out –
the wind is suddenly subdued
as if its master had just entered the cosmic room;
and I’m suddenly full of joy, as if
I had never known until now
that they might love each other, sun and wind,
for some reason which includes us all

Comments about ! What A Wild Wind Today by Michael Shepherd

  • (1/18/2007 5:06:00 PM)

    Michael, what a splendid poem. Love the way you personalize the wind - it's obviously very young and very naughty (shameless) and yet always appealing. The sumo wrestlers on the washing line is brilliant and the magpie nuns flying in their silly habits. So different from the terrifying north winds fanning our bushfires in Australia... love, Allie xxxxxxxxxx (Report) Reply

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  • (1/18/2007 10:00:00 AM)

    A truly admirable poem in its charactar, flow and choice of words.
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/18/2007 9:45:00 AM)

    I especially like the opening sections, Mikey, the observation about the line between fun and destruction. You balance the allusions to both these concepts with great skill. (Report) Reply

  • (1/18/2007 9:41:00 AM)

    Strange. I was lounging on the settee, watching a row of poplars bending over in unison as if paying homage to an unseen king......then got up, and this was the first poem I saw. I love the vision of those sumo wrestler shirts! Great poem, Michael.

    Love, Fran xxx
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  • (1/18/2007 9:25:00 AM)

    Somehow, I don't see the mischief in the wind. Perhaps in the hands of the remote control's owner. Admit it Michael, you were giving the directions, weren't you?
    By the way, one of your best.(i.e. very entertaining.)
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Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 18, 2007

Poem Edited: Monday, December 27, 2010

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