Op-Ed: Ode to the Santa Anas

Drew Beckmeyer / For The Times


You make the world motile, desert engines
pushing out to sea, heat and dust and pollens
in a frenzied bacchanal, each tree, however
ungainly, doing its best imitation of the willow.
Not all can bend and sway with impunity,
though it’s a pretty sight and if looks were all
(in lieu of most) we could applaud politely,
without symptom. Ill-willed wind, your effect
on nose, throat, head, makes pummeling the day
into submission more onerous than usual —
more Alp than hill, more Sisyphus than
Jack and Jill. Listen to the planes rising steeply
backwards, over inland empires instead of ocean-
bound — that’s your doing, too, just when mornings
were becoming precise, crispness in the air,
each leaf, bloom and needle in its place
as though the Whittler carved them nightly.

Patty Seyburn is a professor at Cal State Long Beach and a poet who has published five collections of poems, most recently “Threshold Delivery” and “Perfecta.”