Consider What the Wind Does
by Adam Penna

Consider what the wind does to the trees.
How the leaves will wave to welcome a storm,
and how your hair blown round your scalp will stay,
as if a crest, like so, and though there may
not be a way to cite catastrophe
and say exactly here or there it hurts
or pulls or breaks like a limb on a windy night,
the shine of water and the sound of surf,
the colloquy of birds, even in winter,
calling from leafless branch to leafless bush,
and the rain upsetting the shingled roof
predict how rough a season or how mild
a retreat might be, and they offer, too,
a circumstance that feels like sympathy.

by Adam Penna

When the basement floods and all the books are drowned,
I find relief.  And I rejoice, like trees
after a storm has passed.  They can set down
their burdens now.  The wet leaves float away.
Some limbs drop, too, and whole lives are destroyed.
The cold, crisp air returns.  The neighborhood
is filled with light, and houses are transformed.
They hunkered down and bore the nasty wind.
It pressed its fist against the door.  Today,
it blows less menacingly.  Its whisper soothes.
It steps from house to house and asks,
May I?
I’m happy to admit the breeze.  It moves
around the room, refreshing what survived,
the few sad pages of a dog-eared love.

by Adam Penna

The trees are always moving this time of year,
waving their arms above their heads like fools.
The grass is frozen still.  But in the distance
I see the waves’ white piping, a kind of embroidery.  
Over the roofs, white gulls glide on the wind.  
And up and down the street, trashcans protest,
or are they rolling on their sides because,
free now, they love hysterically and laugh?
I love to laugh like that, and sometimes do,
when, having lost so much, it feels as if
there’s nothing left to lose and what I hold,
like emptiness, had to be let go, too.
The song that follows afterward is sad,
but beautiful and makes me think of home.

by Adam Penna

The little doors of my house, which once I thought
were strong, creak on the hinges.  A storm approaches,
and passes.  The neighborhood fared well enough.
The roofs are still attached, and the mailboxes
stand like flags stunned by the wind.  What should we do
with all the preparations we have made?
The stores of nuts and dried fruits and the cases
of batteries and bottled water?  Love,
they say, is measured by what you can afford
to give away.  So what good does it do
to hoard and grasp?  If this storm doesn’t take
your life, the next one will and, afterward,
when everything you hold dear is destroyed,
you’ll know the joy of monks and fugitives.

by Adam Penna

Let’s call this paradise and say the trees
when they shake, shake with happiness or shine
(it is noon, after all) because, at last,
they understand the sun isn’t a shadow.
It isn’t the length they have cast all morning.
It isn’t who they turn to see this afternoon.
Let’s say it is a god standing above us.
Let’s say it is his eye, and that is why
we squint to understand or raise our hands,
like trees, as if we saw an accident
and couldn’t bear to look, or suddenly
our hearts have stopped and ill-prepared to go,
we clutch at everything we used to take
for granted, now too precious to be lost.



Adam Penna’s first full-length collection, Little Songs & Lyrics to
, was published in 2010 by S4N Books.  The Love of a Sleeper,
a chapbook, was published in 2008 by Finishing Line Press.  His
poems have appeared in magazines such as
Albatross, Cimarron
, Basilica Review, Nimrod, and The Same.  Penna teaches at
Suffolk County Community College, where he is an Associate
Professor of English, and lives in East Moriches, New York, with his
wife and four cats.  He is the editor and publisher of
Best Poem and
maintains a blog at

On “Consider What the Wind Does,” “When the Basement Floods,”
“The Trees Are Always Moving,” “The Little Doors of My House,” and
“Call This Paradise”:
These poems are part of a longer sequence called, for now, Talk of
.  Several years ago I began writing these sonnet-like
poems just about every day.  The first sequence was published in
2010 by S4N Books and is called
Little Songs.  The poems above
take up where
Little Songs left off.  What I wanted to achieve with
these newer little songs began with a personal desire to seek
happiness.  Some two or three hundred little songs later, I am no
happier than I might otherwise be, but I do think something was
achieved and that is a kind of equanimity toward my circumstances,
whether favorable or unfavorable.  I have long been interested in
the intersection of art and life, and have hoped that art transforms
the artist at least and perhaps others at best.  These poems are the
proof that the effort was made, and I hope a promise that the effort
also bore some fruit.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 7, Number 1
(Spring 2012)

Copyright © 2012
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.
When the Basement Floods
The Trees Are Always Moving
The Little Doors of My House
Call This Paradise