At this time of year, the wind often keens in the night. A cold wind out of the north Pacific, Alaska, and Siberia. And, occasionally, a warm wind out of the central Pacific, bringing heavy rain. When they come, these winter winds buffet the windows and rattle the doors.
Last night, as I listened, the first two lines of a poem that I haven't read in decades returned to me:
Towards nightfall when the wind
Tries the eaves and casements . . .
Allen Tate, "Winter Mask," Collected Poems 1919-1976 (1977).
I remembered nothing else of the poem. Some things remain tucked away in our memory, waiting for the right moment to revisit us, while others seem to vanish for ever.
As I have noted before, Arthur Symons was fond of "grey" and "twilight" (and of "grey twilight," of course). He was also fond of wind (often accompanied by rain) in the night.
Wind at Night
The night was full of wind that ran
Like a strong blind distracted man
About the fields in the loud rain;
The night was full of the wind's pain.
I looked into the naked air,
Only the crying wind was there,
In wet invisible torment, tossed
About the darkness like a ghost.
My thought in me cried out and sought
Only, like wind, to fly from thought;
But like my thought the wind could find
Nowhere to hide out of the wind.
Arthur Symons, The Fool of the World and Other Poems (1906).
Night and Wind
The night is light and chill,
Stars are awake in the sky,
There's a cloud over the moon;
Round the house on the hill
The wind creeps with its cry
Between a wail and a croon.
I hear the voice of the wind,
The voice of the wind in the night,
Cry and sob and weep,
As the voice of one that hath sinned
Moaning aloud in its might
In the night when he cannot sleep.
Sleep! No sleep is about.
What remembering sin
Wakes and watches apart?
The wind wails without,
And my heart is wailing within,
And the wind is the voice of my heart.
Arthur Symons, Days and Nights (1889).