For January's Poem of the Month, I have chosen two poems by Ranald Macdonald, 'The Name of the Wind' and 'A Gate of Stillness'.
They are taken from his collection A Pocket in the Vapour.


The “north” was a kind of imagination,
for here I stand at the juncture of all points,
and the wind is in my mind as a mighty name
or friend, who does not come from any place
but quarters up the sphere in which I feel,
so that there might be will and heart and mind
in fastness with the simple, blowing storm.

And I laboured to find the name of the wind,
who came from nowhere but the north,
until, in the moment of darkest intensity,
he fell upon the centre of the earth
and created us again in his own name.
I watched umbrellas blown inside out,
like parabolic mirrors away from the soul.

I saw a mother clutch her child, a man
walk backwards, staggering, and I exulted
as the trees called out again
that serious identity, whose will was in
the grey-blue trunks and sprawling, spoke-like
limbs, severed from the fabric of their leaves.
All at the crossroads, reached by foot.


I watched as many as ten thousand leaves
make streets across the field;
and in their speed they did not stop to say,
“I know that man standing there thinking,
around whom the wind forms a gate of stillness”.

Copyright © Ranald Macdonald 2005
All rights reserved
The author has asserted her/his right under
Section 77 of the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988
to be identified as the author of this work.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data.
A catalogue record for this book is available from
the British Library.