Passing into Storm

Patrick Lane

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Know him for a white man.

He walks sideways into wind

allowing the left of him

 

to forget what the right

knows as cold. His ears

turn into death what

 

his eyes can’t see. All day

he walks away from the sun

passing into storm. Do not

 

mistake him for the howl you hear

or the track you think you

follow. Finding a white man

 

in snow is to look for the dead.

He has been burned by the wind.

He has left too much

 

flesh on winter’s white metal

to leave his colour as a sign.

Cold white. Cold flesh. He leans

 

into wind sideways; kills without

mercy anything to the left of him

coming like madness in the snow.

Patrick Lane, "Passing into Storm", from The Collected Poems of Patrick Lane. Copyright © 2011 by Patrick Lane. Reprinted with permission of the publisher.

Source: The Collected Poems of Patrick Lane (Harbour Publishing, 2011)

Dive in: 
  1. What are some of the words you would use to describe the effect of this poem on a reader?
     
  2. If you were making a film of this poem, what would be the sounds effects you’d use? Would you shoot it in colour or in black and white? Why?
     
  3. Most would want to walk away from a storm rather than passing into it. Why does the man in the poem choose the latter?
     
  4. Why is the opening line so powerful? What does it imply?
     
  5. How could you perform this poem so that readers would feel its chill?

 

Links:

www.patricklane.ca

thetyee.ca/Culture/2019/03/11/Monstrous-Inquity-Years/

https://www.timescolonist.com/patrick-lane-an-open-letter-to-all-the-wild-creatures-of-the-earth-1.717669

 

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