I am the wind

March 7, 2007

willmclean.jpgThis weekend is the annual Will McLean Music Festival in Florida. I was reminded of Will — Florida’s Black Hat Troubadour, who passed on in 1990 — by a pair of unrelated creations today, actually last night. Brady Barr, National Geographic’s resident crocodile expert, presented a fascinating, funny and lively program about his experiences filming crocs, gators and other reptiles as part of the film series hosted by the Center for Environmental Filmmaking (see links at right). That triggered memories of my years in the Sunshine State, the best times spent at the Florida Folk Festival, where I drank in the words and music of Will, Gamble Rogers, former Seminole Chief Jim Billie, and dozens of other just plain folk who valued the natural environment.

At the same time, I’m in the middle of plans for the Montgomery County (Maryland) Sierra Club’s 4th Annual Environmental Career Fair. Wendy Rieger, who hosts the Going Green segment for NBC Channel 4 here in the DC market, is going to do a promo. As I was reading her blog, with a poetry post including a delightful song text by a Druid leader, Amergin, I was struck by the similarity in sentiment with one of Will’s masterpieces, “I am the wind.”

Wendy, I hope you don’t mind my repeating “The Song of Amergin” here, along with Will’s poem. The two just are so inextricably comparable, I want folks to experience the synergy all at one time. By all means, visit Wendy’s blog for the rest of the story!


Will McLean

as spoken by Will McLean at the 1985 Florida Folk Festival, in his rich, mellow bass voice, and transcribed by me today, although I’m not at all sure how he would have shown the line breaks, and a couple of words I couldn’t quite make out clearly on my recording, shown in <>…

I am the wind
and without restraint come I and go by <I?>
in accordance with a covenant since the beginning

In my vestige be I warm, cold, gentle, violent, wayward, restless

I am of no color, therefore be I invisible, be I not seen
Only sound and feel gives awareness to my presence

There is no place on earth I am not
From the tiny skin pores to the long <lung???> bellows of the colossal whale
go I in and out
and where be I, be there life and be there the ultimate also
for in the wake of my wrath be there destruction,
be there death

I spin windwheels when I sing
I bellow the canvass of sailing vessels
My keen is the thrumming, and the riggin’

I ripple the waters of lakes and lagoons, and ruffle birdses feathers
I am capricious when scutting clouds across the skies
I cavort the falling leaf, meandering butterflies and darting skeeterhawks

I puff puffballs from their anchor place,
rattle palmetto fronds,
bang loose shutters,
swing empty swings to and fro

I fan the embers of campfires and dry the sweat of the dancin’ oxen
I waft the pungent odor of low tide over the beaches
I gust and spurt amongst sand dunes and erase the laying tracks of the sea turtle
I am the ocean’s roar in a conch shell, the noise in a tea kettle

I eerie the lonesome-sounding train whistle,
the far-off cry of the cryin’ bird,
and the fox’s bark at the moon

I am the soaring updraft for spreaded wing,
the air cushion for migrating wild things and nectar-sipping hummingbirds

I caress flowers and stray wisps of hair and tell secrets to the listening ear
I form dust devils and cyclonic twisters of such force
as to drive the fragile broomstraw to the heartwood of a pine
and impale a child on a broken-off limb

Even do I sustain earth breathers in the vastness of my upper domain,
I scatter man-caused radiation and pollution to the four points of the compass

I soothe the baby’s tender skin and crinkle the smile of the aged

I am the hauntingly beautiful music of flutes

I am eternal

I am the wind


And now, quoting from Wendy’s blog:

“Amergin was a Druid leader who came to Ireland in 1500 b.c. The magic of Ireland allows one to wonder if it’s celtic myth or if Amerigin was, in fact, a great poet and warrior. In Ireland you conquer as much with your words as with your fists.

“Amerigin clearly believed he was at one with the earth. When you read this to yourself imagine a deep voiced man with an irish accent reading in.. a.. slow…..whisper.


I am the wind which breathes upon the sea,
I am the wave of the ocean,
I am the murmur of the billows,
I am the ox of the seven combats,
I am the vulture upon the rocks,
I am a beam of the sun,
I am the fairest of plants,
I am a wild boar in valour,
I am a salmon in the water,
I am a lake in the plain,
I am a word of science,
I am the point of the lance in battle,
I am the God who creates in the head….the fire,
Who is it who throws light into the meeting on the mountain?
Who announces the ages of the moon?
Who teaches the place where couches the sun?
If not I.



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