The Weathercock – Poetry by Ann Stanford (b. 1916 – d. 1987)
Wind shakes me
I am weak and spent
With every argument.
I doubt and hang
A breath disturbs me.
Sinewless and vain
The harsh and soft are one to me
Zephyr or gale, I turn my face to it.
North wind and south have whispered
And I go with each.
The dulcet evidence of bloom and spring
Or the cold reason of on-circling storm
Both have convinced me, and I yearn with them
Yearn as the smoke drift or the lifted leaves.
Yet I proportion my stance to the breeze.
Wind shall not take me
Though he shriek and bite
Frighten all other birds to leeward shade
Blow down the pigeons from the cooling lofts
Sail the hawk back downwind and send
Laborious eagles panting to their rocks.
I have set my claw
Deep in the roof’s pinnacle,
There to hold
While solid objects knock about –
Each broadside thing –
Stiff in this hub to turn and, keen,
Broach to the wind a practiced waywarding.
Through the barn totters
And hay flies
And the wood is pierced by pebbles;
Till the ties of the timbers skew
With the beams ajar
And the shingles scatter
And the great roof falls
I crow though none may hear.
In the vast spinning world, I still point true.
I fly here.
“Poet, anthologist, translator, and scholar Ann Stanford was born in La Habra, California. She earned a BA at Stanford University, where she studied with poet Yvor Winters. Stanford also studied at Radcliffe College as a Phelan Fellow. She earned her PhD at UCLA.
Stanford published eight poetry collections during her lifetime, including In Narrow Bound (1943), The Weathercock (1966), and In Mediterranean Air (1977). The posthumous Holding Our Own: The Selected Poetry of Ann Stanford (2001) includes the poet’s final, previously unpublished work. Her lyric, meditative poetry touches on ecology, urbanity, and solitude, layering real and imagined landscapes…” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/ann-stanford#poet
I got this poem from the anthology, Poets of the Non-Existent City – Los Angeles in the McCarthy Era, Edited by Estelle Gershgoren Novak.
Some scattered thoughts I have about the poetry of Ann Stanford: I admire her poetry for its seemingly effortless craftsmanship, its clarity and intelligence. Her poetry is certainly worth reading if only to read in order to assimilate her expertise. She is to me like a water-color artist who has achieved a great deal of technique at fine brushwork – the brushwork has actually vanished and only the fine filigree of image remains.