Ammon Wrigley - "The West Wind in Spring"

The following is a transcription of a work by Saddleworth poet Ammon Wrigley (1861-1946).

The West Wind in Spring

O wind from the moorlands that lie to the west,
Where the eve is folding the day to her breast,
Like one that is weary and longing to rest,
Come whisper to me!
By the old Pule farms on the moor highway,
I climb where the Stanedge looms lonely and grey,
But my path is enchanted wherever I stray
When I listen to thee.
O wind of the sunset, still warm with the glow,
From skies that are saffron, come hither and blow
Thy freshness around me, for fain would I know
Some tidings of Spring!
O tell me, sweet wind, of the silver tongue!
Shall I meet this sweet maid I have looked for long?
Is she roaming this night on the moorlands among
The cloudberry and ling?
O tell me, West Wind, what the skylark hath said?
What song is she dreaming to-night, in her bed,
That will shake the white towers of morn overhead
With peals of delight?
Hath the lapwing come back to her last year’s nest,
To the field she was born in and loves the best?
O warm be the eggs ’neath her soft white breast
On the shelterless height!
And, say, hath the swallow come back o’er the sea,
O’er the white Channel waves to frolic with thee?
Hath the ring-ousel told the cloughs on the lea
Her legends of May?
Hath the cuckoo been heard by the old sheep farms,
Where the pastures lie green in the moor’s rough arms?
What sorcery is hers! What witchery and charms
Are thrown from her lay!
And say how the moorcock hath greeted the Spring,
Red bird of the August — so wild on the wing!
My heart is like thine on the hills of the ling—
The vast and the lone!
O live if you will where the lowlands are spread,
With black city walls and contagion is fed,
But give me the heights where the plover is bred
And health has her throne.
The night is now here, with her jewels and crown,
For the red moon is up, o’er the edge of the down,
And wan over Wharmton the glare of the town—
Gay revel and sin!
And faintly, West Wind, art thou whispering now,
Scarce a word can I hear, so sleepy art thou;
Good-night and good-rest! On the high moor brow,
In thy chamber of whin.
I crave not a comrade in the ways I pass,
Whose thoughts are for ever intent upon “brass”:
Whose soul is as dead as the dried up grass
To a feeling divine!
But thou be my comrade, so fresh in my face!
O the joy to be caught in thy wildest embrace,
Away on the hills in some wind-haunted place—
A playmate of thine!
Thou eagle-winged spirit, the wild and the free,
How often I think what a life it would be
To leap the green hedges as lightly as thee—
Unfettered by care!
To whip the wild horses of storm o’er the hill!
To meet the young dawn when the heavens refill!
To live and to die at my own joyous will—
Unseen in the air!