The Wind Is an Owl [Poetry Friday]

I’m off the grid right now, so I’m not going to be visiting blogs this weekend, but I wish you a happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)

This month, our Poetry Princess challenge was dizzying dizains. We’ve done dizains once before, apparently, but that was the one month I skipped! So I’ve never written one.   Here are the basic rules:

  • A single 10-line stanza
  • 10 syllables in each line
  • A rhyme scheme of ababbccdcd

I’m writing most of this post early in the morning on Sunday, March 21. I’m getting ready to go offline for a week, starting tomorrow morning. This afternoon, I’m writing live with my Poetry Sisters. And I feel bleah. I’ve been up since 2 a.m. with asthma issues, and our home life is in upheaval right now (nothing that’s a crisis–just a lot of stress and busyness). My eyes are gritty–I want to lie down SO badly right now, but when I do, that little tightness in my chest starts up and feels like a hefty cat is sitting there. Anyway.

Last week, I met with a few poetry friends and we were discussing imagery. I started working on a poem then used James Stephens’ “The Wind” as its starting point.  Our exercise was to change the central metaphor, so I changed the wind from an evil man into an owl. Here’s the first draft I wrote:


The wind spreads
its wide grey wings
and heaves itself,
in feathered silence,
scattering withered leaves

It grips the back-step mittens
and carries them off,
a trophy,
into the darkness

Then restless,
the wind flies shrieking
down the street
looking for a new field
to chill

The hunting wind is never still

–draft copyright Laura Purdie Salas

Since my brain feels kind of incapable of fresh thought right now, I’m hoping to do a second draft of this poem as a dizain today when I write with my poetry sisters. IF all goes well, and IF this post auto-publishes it as I’ve scheduled it to, then, TA-DA, here is my dizain:

And for lots of wonderful poetry, don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup with Susan at Soul Blossom Living.  And don’t forget to check out the varied imaginations of my Poetry Sisters! Since I’m offline this week, I don’t have links to them like I usually do. But they make magic, and you’ll find their links in the roundup.

Click here to see all our previous Poetry Princesses collaborations. 

Want to try next month’s challenge and post with us? We’d love for you to join us! Here’s the prompt: a poem in the style of Linda Hogan’s “Innocence.” Go to town with that and share your poem on April 30 in a post and/or on social media – #PoetryPals. Hope you’ll join us!




17 Responses

  1. Laura, I hope you have a fantastic week away from the internet! I’m only a little bit jealous.

    I can’t decide if I like your poem better in the first draft form or in the dizain draft form. Both are powerful and capture both the owl and the wind so well. Thank you!

  2. Wow-wee! This poem is so amazing. The way you took your original idea of the wind as a bird and developed it into the dizain, which frankly I’ve never heard of, is masterful.

  3. I love BOTH of these poems and am amazed that you cram so much in!! The dizain is really teaching me something important. Thank you. I will come back to this post. Thanks for the writing invitation, not sure I can manage it but I should at least try.

  4. Laura, enjoy your time away. I like how you changed your poem and see that you still may be in the quest of a further revision. Your layered image is a wonderful background for your words.

  5. Wow. This is stunningly brutally beautiful. I absolutely adore the idea of linking the wind to an owl, but beyond that, you’ve chosen each detail so precisely that we feel the sweep of wings, fear the bite of talon, and shudder in the cold. So well done.

  6. Yes, it posted and I liked both, Laura. The poem itself “flies and dives and leaps”. Hope this week finds you feeling lots better!

  7. Ooh, the wind as wide-winged bird of prey, as muscled hunter, as a tireless seeker of tiny cracks to get into and leave you cold — it’s lovely. And shivery.

    I’m so sorry you’re feeling unwell; I LOATHE the parts of illness which preclude me sleeping!! I hope things calm and course-correct for you soon as the stress ebbs.

  8. Laura: What an amazing poem. The wind here in NJ today is definitely shrieking. I can feel it in your poem. Thank you for sharing both drafts, it is most helpful to me as a learner.

  9. I loved reading both drafts of your poem–amazing! Hope you are feeling better.

  10. Honestly, I enjoyed both of these poems. I can’t help but think of the power of showing young writers the many ways we can play with our writing in revision. So often when I am writing something I wonder what it would sound like if I made different craft moves. What a great discussion this might be.

  11. I like both versions — there’s a slightly menacing quality to that owl! Ruth,

  12. “This blowing nomad never builds a nest.” Such a powerful line from your chill-filled poem–I can hear the wind whipping around inside and about your lines.
    Hope you are feeling better and begin to heal soon. Unfortunately I’m well acquainted with sleeping upright for I have upper respiratory problems too.

  13. This dizain is utterly word-perfect, Laura. So visceral — almost a little scary! I love it!

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