The Wind No Longer Whispers
                        After William Stafford

by Carol A. Stephen

The long howl of an ancient wolf envelops sound,
as its final exhale sends a chill rebounding from the moon.

Every bird goes silent,
every church bell, every choir.
Each newborn baby, born mouth open
in a silent mourn.

Rivers run voiceless over rocks, no longer
chortle along their etched route among the stones
of the ages. New hatchlings, mouthing a call for food,
shatter no silences. The wind no longer whispers
among shivering leaves. The world, without its voice,
sheds tears. No one hears a sound.

The earth begins to tremble, summoning the grass.
She prays to the sky to send its morning moisture,
to bathe her flowers once more in gentle rain.
The clouds, gathered above, begin softly to weep.

Below, there is a stirring. Below, at last, all
the voiceless things begin to sing in the voices
of grass, in the voices of flowers, of morning dew,
and in the gentle whisper of green mornings.

PAINTING: The Beautiful Morning by Arthur Corpora (1982).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “The Wind No Longer Whispers” started as a workshop poem, based on a prompt given by poet Lorna Crozier, and based on William Stafford’s children’s book, The Animal that Drank Up Sound. I wanted the poem to reflect, first, how mankind has tried to silence the Earth and her many voices, and then to show how the Earth holds the possibility to regenerate, should we allow her to do so.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carol A. Stephen poetry appears in Poetry Is Dead, June 2017, and numerous print publications, including Wintergreen Studios chapbooks, Sound Me When I’m Done, and Teasing the Tongue. Online poems appear at Silver Birch Press, Topology Magazine, The Light Ekphrastic, and With Painted Words. Carol won Third prize in the CAA National Capital Writing Contest, and was featured in Tree’s Hot Ottawa Voices. She served on the board for Canadian Authors Association-NCR and co-directed Ottawa’s Tree Reading Series. Carol has five chapbooks, two released in 2018: Unhook (catkin press, Carleton Place) and Lost Silence of the Small (Local Gems Press, Long Island, New York).  In 2019, Winning the Lottery, Surviving Clostridium Difficile was published by Crowe Currently, she is working on the manuscript for her first full-length poetry collection, as well as a collection about birds of the Corvidae family and their friends.