Know the Shape of Wind

A poem on listening carefully for the wisdom bestowed by land and place.

Deborah McNamara
Loose Words
Published in
2 min readJan 7


(Impage: JPlenio, Pixabay)

When inside walls,
yes there is warmth
but also we miss deep knowing
of each wind gust shape—
the way it howls
in open spaces,
against red canyon ravine,
or finding way across
ice on frozen river;
We miss feeling
(in our bones)
the shape of cold air
winding words like art
across landscape,
a poem of season
and each unique place.

When we are warm within walls,
we miss that deep knowing
of land,
the kind that tells us
from the inside
(of ourselves)
which way to go in a storm
or where to find shelter
or perfect reprieve
from white snow gales;
We miss the knowing that comes
from sitting with elements
traversing same worn paths
of our ancestors
who knew these contours,
thick and thin
in and out
always listening
as survival depended on the hearing.

Those who lived outside
know where the trees of life are,
and how to pay homage
to cavernous roots
in all directions.
They are the ones knowing
each shape of home
and where to curl
along edge of perfect rock
for warmth or respite,
or for quiet hum
of sound lines, reverberating
from below.

For now, lie awake
burrow inside
listen carefully
to wind’s swoosh and swirl,
imagining the journey
across time and space,
spirals of memory
leading into the curve
of mind where sound
is finally calmed,
coaxed into silence of
sparkling winter night.



Deborah McNamara
Loose Words

Sustainability & Climate Activist. Yoga Teacher. Author, Invitation of Motherhood: Uncovering the Spiritual Lessons of Parenting. More: