Wind and Tree (from NEW WEATHER by Paul Muldoon)
‘In the way that the most of the wind Happens where there are trees Most of the world is centred About ourselves’. The first two stanza’s explore the notion of self-centeredness in an original way. When the wind blows, it blows everywhere, but it is noticed more at some places than others, trees being specially apt at exposing the presence of wind to the onlooker. In the same way, life is everywhere, but it is more present in the presence of a person. Self-centeredness has its limits, however. Most, but not all, of the world, is centered around ourselves, just like the wind doesn’t solely blow where trees are. Persons are more or less conscious of the limited character of their experience.
The next three stanza’s elaborate the comparison with trees to bring in personal relations. The imagery starts out romantically (‘One tree will take Another in her arms and hold’) but continues rather morose (‘Their branches that are grinding Madly together’). Personal relations are suffused with images that are capable to impact the relation in a very real and potentially dark way (‘It is no real fire. They are breaking each other’).
Hence the desire to ‘be like a single tree, going nowhere’, since our images do not painfully hurt ourselves: ‘my own arm could not and would not break the other’. ‘Yet by my broken bones I tell new weather’. Nothing changes the perspective on the world as thorough as a relation.