When the Cold Wind Blows
If you see fire, if
fire is spilled, smothered by rain,
stolen from the sun–
are bridges burned, rivers run
dry? A cold flaming. Unquenched.
James Taylor released his album “Sweet Baby James” in 1970, the year I graduated from high school. It was a constant in my life for the next few years, and remains a touchstone for remembering that time.
When Colleen title her tanka challenge this week “Fire and Rain”, James Taylor’s song immediately began to play in my head. Almost all the songs on “Sweet Baby James” talk about the sun, yet there’s a touch of melancholy in every word. Colleen’s prompt photo, too, seems to reflect these contradictory feelings. Endings, beginnings: fire and rain. My tanka is an imagined conversation with the album and the song.
You can read the lyrics to “Fire and Rain” (the source of my tanka’s title) and listen to the song here. James discusses some of his songs for Rolling Stone, with musical accompaniment, here. (But you don’t need to explain yourself, James. We understand these feelings only too well.)