Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Almost a Storm

Place names here tend to have an inherent poetry, even when the translation indicates a mundane approach to their naming: "slope down to the sea" or "river valley" or "Inge's farm." Likewise, weather words are both poetic and descriptive, their very sounds as if sent from the weather itself--smoor, haar, and mizzle for forms of precipitation; and soughing, hurrying, harvest, or helm for winds. "Gale force" has no poetry in it. It is a wind that means business.

Last night the wind huffed and puffed and whirled and complained around the house. It sneaked through the windows and rattled the doors. It was not the consistent one-note plaint of a soughing wind nor the fierce torrent or air that betokens a gale. It sawed at my nerves like a soughing wind and could not be ignored. "What do you call that wind?" I asked my husband with more than a hint of peevishness in my voice as if it were somehow his fault.

After a long while of searching, he said, "Almost a storm."

No poetry but precision. The temperature had dropped, the clouds were thickening, and the cats were all tucked up safely out of sight--I usually have at least one close by the back door. It was almost a storm weather.

I was reading last night the latest book of poems from a local author, George Gunn. Among the poems was one entitle Blue and he took on the challenge (and succeeded, I think) in describing the changing colours of blue in the sea without being either sentimental or overly precise. In the honour of that challenge, I am going to endeavour to put a little poetry into this wind with no name.

Almost a Storm knocked at the back door
then ran to the front
as if she had forgotten her keys.
She rattled the windows
She clattered the downspouts
She shoogled the bushes and ransacked the hedge
then settled herself into her bed
and pulled up the clouds and slept.


At 11:58 AM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

Did you make up the word "shoogled"? Regardless, it's marvelously descriptive.

At 8:46 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

No, shoogle, is a real Scots word rather than a Sharonism, but I guess that helps explain how it is I fit in up here.

At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Marilyn said...

Love the poem. "Shoogle" is also a word from my childhood, but via Pennsylvania Dutch. It's the way the farmer rides his broad-backed saddleless trotting horse, when the actual "horse" is your mother's knees. "Zo shoogle der bauer!" Then you get bounced off. Comes after "Zo reidet die Dame." (very proper) then "Zo reidet der Herr." (smartly) and finally, "Zo shoogle der bauer!" (repeatedly)

At 10:50 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

Oh that is a great shoogle story. I have some kids that are almost of the age to be shoogled on my knee.


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