Tower of the Winds

Eight winds blowing, bluster overflowing,
Buffet all the crevices of earth.
Eight winds searching, lustily and lurching,
Spawning every misery and mirth.

First blows Boreas, minion of Polaris,
Bane of maids and travelers on the deep.
Frost upon his beard, a visage to be feared,
Stallions in his care that do not sleep.

In a nearby field Kaikias from a shield
Visits on the land a shower of stone.
Whether he is kind or whether he is blind,
Where or why he wanders is unknown.

Apeliotes from the East, herald of the feast,
Holds a cloak bearing fruit and grain.
A young man’s smile, a face lacking guile,
A friend to those who weeping pray for rain.

To the southeast Euros, in the house of Helios,
To some a god of storm, to some of sun.
Over everything that grows a hot breath he blows
From where the poplars weep for Phaethon.

Notus in the south from his torrid mouth
Spews sirocco dust across the land.
Those tossed at sea huddle in the lee
Even as autumn’s bounty is at hand.

To the southwest Lips, hand upon all ships,
Steadying them safely from the rear.
Yet like a mountain trickle the boyish god is fickle,
Changing clear to cloud and cloud to clear.

Zephyrus to the West, gentler than the rest,
The favoring wind that brings Odysseus home.
Yet this father of flowers turns in jealous hours
To drive luckless Hyacinth to doom.

As the warm days die, from the northwest sky
Comes bearded Skiron with his pot of coal.
On the first chill morning, all must heed the warning
Of this harbinger from the farthest pole.

Eight wingéd horses in their wild courses
Stamp the grass of every dale and hill,
Thirsting for attention, ever in contention
To bend the paths of mortals to their will.

In the center of the gyre a woman born of fire
Rides a current moving in the calm.
Ruler of the eight, sworn to mediate,
She weaves their clamor into silent psalm.

Look then to that core, beyond desire and war,
The still point of a world ever turning,
Where a spirit streaming light puts all ills to flight,
Subdues all godly whims and mortal yearning.

Fury from every part she draws into her heart
And every ravaged edifice of men.
Every back that breaks, every soul that aches
Becomes a passing note in her Amen.



Tad Tuleja, a Texas-based folklorist, has published poems in Blue Unicorn, The Road Not Taken, and Adirondack Review. As songwriter Skip Yarrow, he performs his latest CD, Gather, at www.skipyarrow.com and on You Tube.

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9 Responses

  1. Tad Tuleja

    Thanks, Paul. It was a bit of a bear wrangling with those eight warring forces, so I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Satyananda Sarangi

    Hello Mr. Tuleja!

    The best thing to me in this poem is its internal rhyming. I can sum up the work in 3 Ls – Laudable, Lyrical and Lambent.

    Looking forward to more from you!

  3. Tad Tuleja

    Ciao JD, Cheryl, and Satyananda,

    Thanks very much. Yes, the internal rhyming was a challenge–channeling my inner Old Englishman maybe. My poet brother Greg points out that there’s one slant rhyme here, and at his suggestion (should posterity give a hoot) I’m changing the “favoring wind” line in stanza 8 to “Odysseus rides to Penelope at the loom.” I wonder if anyone has ever written her story…

  4. Allegra Silberstein

    You tell an intriguing story with your poem that makes me think of the troubles in this world. We need the woman of fire.

  5. Dan Ward

    Very enjoyable read. The mythology and the rhyming method are a great combination.

  6. David Watt

    I enjoyed reading mythology in verse, and the well thought out internal rhymes.


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