LONG ago I learned how to sleep,
In an old apple orchard where the wind swept by counting its money and throwing it away,
In a wind-gaunt orchard where the limbs forked out and listened or never listened at all,
In a passel of trees where the branches trapped the wind into whistling, “Who, who are you?”
I slept with my head in an elbow on a summer afternoon and there I took a sleep lesson.
There I went away saying: I know why they sleep, I know how they trap the tricky winds.
Long ago I learned how to listen to the singing wind and how to forget and how to hear the deep whine,
Slapping and lapsing under the day blue and the night stars:
Who, who are you?
Who can ever forget
listening to the wind go by
counting its money
and throwing it away?
I first read this poem first as a in high school in 1965. I loved it then and have loved it ever since. It truly inspired my own halting attempts to compose verse for myself, family and friends. Thank you, Carl Sandburg.
I have lived this poem many times—most notably when I was 15 and sat in the orchard at my parents’ home. It was in farm country and the wind passed through the autumn leaves with a lush song and tossed them into the meadow—truly, the wind was “counting its money and throwing it away.”
I live in the woods now and whenever the wind is right, I can fall gently asleep to its whispering song.
I came across this poem in the summer of 1979, and it touched me to the heart as just a couple of weeks before that I had dreamt one night exactly the same wind, with its deep whine and a whiff of unforgettably fresh air passing through my face. After I awaked it then seemed to me that I was the only to know how to listen the wind. But after having acquainted with the “Wind Song” I realized that I was not alone. However, such a windy dream now comes to me very seldom, much more rarely that I can in my real life to listen the wind or to go over my beloved Sandburg’s lines. Anyway, I wonder whether there are many people or not who sometimes hear the wind in their dreams?