Thursday, May 30, 2024

Dusty Afternoon

Even the names of winds
In English carry on

Cartographic concerns—
The zephyr, the mistral,
African scirocco—

As absurd in England
Where the poets loved them
Despite those North Sea storms,

As in America
Where, thanks to the English,
They suggest old-fashioned,

Flowery poetry
Dragging in adjectives
To account for themselves,

As in, gentle zephyrs
Or, the fierce scirocco.
Standing on a mesa

In the desert southwest
In an alternating
Fierce and then gentle wind,

It’s odd to contemplate
How association
With being poetic

Can both extend the range
Of an old, working term
And make it seem foolish,

How each wave of poets
Disavows poetic,
Remuscles the language.

Then, whatever they use
Well to do so becomes
Another fancy word

Ordinary language
Wouldn’t be caught dead with
To name a dusty day.

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