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Poet's Corner V: The Wind

Updated: Mar 17, 2022

with Audrey Ardern-Jones

The Hub's resident poet, Audrey Ardern-Jones, follows our autumn playlist with a pair of poems inspired by the seasonal power of the wind. Who Has Seen the Wind? by Christina Georgina Rossetti and Audrey's I'm Listening to Forecasts of Violent Winds. You can listen to Audrey read and discuss these wind poems by clicking on the link below.

You can also listen to The Hub's 5-zone The Wind playlist, inspired by Audrey's theme of wind poetry by clicking on the link below.

After reading this blog, The Hub's friend Rebecca Hunter sent a picture of her mother's painting, Windy Day at the Coast. Leading to Painting The Wind below about Olga Hunter finding "joy and pleasure" in Art in her later years after a painful marital separation. "Really beautiful and so moving," says Audrey.


Who Has Seen the Wind?

by Christina Georgina Rosetti

Image: Christina Georgina Rossetti from a tinted crayon drawing by Dante Rosetti 1877 /

Credit: in William Michael Rossetti, The Family Letters of Christina Georgina Rossetti (London: Brown, Langham & Co., 1908)

Who Has Seen The Wind?

Who has seen the wind?

Neither I nor you:

But when the leaves hang trembling,

The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?

Neither you nor I:

But when the trees bow down their heads,

The wind is passing by.

by Christina Georgina Rosetti


I’m Listening to Forecasts of Violent Winds

by Audrey Ardern-Jones

Painting: Original watercolour of the old Brighton pier in the wind /

Credit: Audrey Ardern-Jones

I’m Listening to Forecasts of Violent Winds

The fishermen are drawing in nets,

the shops have shut early,

the dog, he is whining, whining

and won’t go out. I prop a garden seat

against the tilted shed, watch

bursts of beetles skitter across the lawn.

I track back to my African childhood –

matebele ants marching in lines hissing

over parched ground, men waiting

for dust-driven whirlwinds, witchdoctors

lambasting the sick for their sins, babies

strapped on backs, women running

and shouting in Bemba* Chili mupepi!

Chili mupepi! The dry heat, the drum beat,

the wind that zipped inside itself and exploded.

by Audrey Ardern-Jones

* Chili mupepi – It’s Near (Bemba)


Listen to Audrey

In this autumn episode of Poet's Corner Audrey tells us "feeling a bit disconcerted when you can hear the wind rustling around" led her to choose two poems inspired by the wind.

What Time Is The Wind? by Christina Georgina Rossetti, one of Audrey's favourite poets, is so"simple a poem, but leaves you feeling so moved". After reading the poem out loud Audrey commented: "Yes, extremely beautiful and sensitive as are all her poems".

Regular visitors to Poet's Corner know The Hub likes to illustrate the poems with a portrait of the famous poet or an image of the chosen theme. Some of the best illustrations are Audrey's paintings. "How do you paint the wind? A good question!" she muses. The elegant answer is her "quite dramatic" watercolour of windy seas around the old Brighton Pier.

Audrey's wind poem is from her collection Doing The Rounds. A regular creative reference point is her childhood growing up in Lusaka, Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia). Here her fear of the frequent violent local whirlwinds are recalled in I’m Listening to Forecasts of Violent Winds. After reading the poem Audrey says, "you can tell the drama of those violent whirlwinds are still with me!".

This 2014 account in Lusaka Voice gives an example of the destructive power of whirlwinds in Zambia: Whirl winds destroy destroy Luwingu schools.

You can listen to Audrey read two poems inspired by the wind by clicking on the link below.


Listen to Wind Music

You can listen to The Hub's 5-zone The Wind playlist inspired by Audrey's theme of wind poetry by clicking on the link below.

Rock & Pop: Windmills of Your Mind, Noel Harrison to Like A Hurricane, Neil Young; Dance Floor: Summer Breeze, The Isley Brothers to Hurricane, Kanye West, The Weeknd, Lil Baby; Chill Zone: Summer Breeze, Seals and Crofts to Windy Bay, Ocean Therapy; Classical: Gone With The Wind - Main Title, Max Steiner to Windy Hill, breezy brooks; Ballads: The Windmills of Your Mind, Dusty Springfield to Wild is The Wind, David Bowie.

YouTube video: ABBA - Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)

ABBA's anthemic Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) from 1979 album Voulez-Vous was given a new lease of life when songwriters Benny and Björn allowed Madonna to use its opening riff on Hung Up from 2005 album Confessions On A Dance Floor. Madonna admitted to sending a begging letter to the songwriters to drop their usual refusal to sampling requests.

ABBA's song may be a surprise on The Wind's: Dance Floor zone, until the song's opening lyrics are fully revealed.

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)

Half past twelve

And I'm watching the late show in my flat all alone

How I hate to spend the evening on my own

Autumn winds

Blowing outside my window as I look around the room

And it makes me so depressed to see the gloom...

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Ulvaeus Bjoern K / Andersson Benny Sigvard Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) lyrics © Universal/union Songs Musikforlag Ab


Painting the Wind

Posting Poet's Corner V: The Wind led to the pleasant surprise of The Hub's friend Rebecca Hunter sending a picture of her mother Olga's painting, Windy Day at the Coast. Picking up neatly from Audrey's question: "How do you paint the wind?" The painting shows a group of people dressed for the cold and rain being buffeted by the wind by the north east coast of England as they struggle to keep hold of their umbrellas.

Oil Painting: Windy Day at the Coast / Credit: Olga Hunter

Describing her mother as an artist, Becs says: "My mum, Olga, was one of the hardest working women I've known. She always had a smile and a joke whilst running and managing a busy kitchen in our family restaurant. In her 60s she separated from my Dad and her energy was thrown into Art.

She attended the wonderful Jacob Kramer Art School, now Leeds Arts University. My daughter Elle followed her grandmother with an Art Foundation course there. My mum, Olga, painted most days in her dining room, often with her face, clothes and hair covered in oil paint.

Her Art was therapy for her healing from her separation from my Dad and an expression of joy at learning to do something she could always do so naturally. As well as frustration at not having the time to become Avigdor Arikha, her favourite artist.

My memories of my Mum (at this time) are of her painting in her house and always chasing the elusive light and shadow. A lot of her work was domestically focused, but it was never twee, and showed the dramatic and beautiful nature of light in the every day.

The windy scene is an example of the fun pictures she painted occasionally as she loved to paint human movement and shapes and to evoke atmospheres. Art was her joy and passion in her later years. It was inspiring to see her transform her pain into something beautiful."

Becs wrote a follow up to this account: "That was pretty emotional, I've never written that before." Becs, a sleep practitioner, features in The Hub's Rebecca Hunter: The Importance of a Good Night's Sleep, a post on her new business, the THEA Sleep Protection Programme.


A Poet with an Artist's Painterly Sensibility

Audrey Ardern-Jones at the summer 2021 unveiling of the Emily Wilding Davison Memorial in Epsom's market square where Audrey read her poem 'Tattenham Corner' about Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison's last moments / Credit: Audrey Ardern-Jones

“Ardern-Jones is a poet with an artist’s painterly sensibility, a musician’s fine ear, a nurse’s affinity for strangers and their plight. Poems for the ear, poems of language – Polish and Bemba, Portuguese and English. An intelligent, finely crafted poetry of curiosity and caring, of listening and loving, of humour and hope.” Paul Stephenson, an award winning poet and blogger, podcaster and co-curator of Poetry in Aldeburgh and teacher at the Poetry School, who interviews poets on their first collections.

Audrey Ardern-Jones spent her childhood in Africa (Lusaka, Zambia) where her English father and Polish mother were posted. She’s enjoyed a wonderful nursing career, specialising in cancer genetics. Audrey has always loved the Arts and founded The Poetry & Music Ensemble in 1984.

Her poems are widely published and have won prizes or been commended in international competitions. Currently, she is Artist in Residence at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and is an active supporter of poetry projects in her community of Epsom & Ewell.

The publisher's link takes you to Doing The Rounds, Audrey's collection of poems. "This collection touches on the poet's childhood memories of living in Africa - her feelings of being in awe of so much and yet uncertain about many of the happenings. Most of her travel poems in India relate to incidents that have made her question herself - some of the poems about her Polish mother and her suffering post WW2 echo throughout the collection."



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