WIND- Ted Hughes
In this poem, Hughes draws a sharp contrast between the sheer intensity and uncontrollable strength if the wind in a storm as opposed to the vulnerability and fragility of man. The poet starts by describing a tremendous gale striking a desolated moorland house and its inhabitants. “The house has been far out at sea all night.” By using this metaphor he compares the house to a boat at sea. The house faces wave upon wave of inexhaustible pounding from the wind, as a boat would be in an enraged sea. By using words like “crashing”, “booming”, “stampeding” and “floundering” to show the intensity of the wind. He said the wind could be heard “stampeding the fields under the window” – this personification helps us imagine a herd of animals stampeding noisily out of a forest to avoid danger. At some point the images suggest that the wind is an enormous and powerful beast – “Floundering back astride” and “flexing like the lens of a mad eye”. This simile continues to emphasize the image of the wind as a wild beast. At noon the poet “scaled along the house side”. In this metaphor the word “scaled” represents the house as if it were a dangerous mountain. The wind is leaving a frightening effect on nature itself let alone on the poor persona. The brunt wind “dented the balls of my eyes” – a metaphor which brings out the continuation of the image of the wind as a warrior. We imagine the wind as if it were a human being with a spear in hand with which he is piercing and harming the persona’s eyes. Also the harsh consonant sounds bring out the strength of the wind. The metaphor “the tents of the hills drummed and strained its guy rope” – compares the hills to tents that are about to be blown away. Again this figure of speech highlights the violence of the wind The sheer force of the wind is also brought up in the fourth stanza. The image of the magpie being thrown away mercilessly by the wind is very effective and lifelike, yet frightening. Moreover, the simile of the “black-back gull bent like an iron bar slowly” is as effective and frightening since it shows how weak these helpless birds are compared to the wind. In the fifth stanza, Hughes shifts our attention back to the house. He compares the house to “some fine green goblet”. This simile is showing the fragility of the house as if at any moment the wind will shatter it into pieces. The inhabitants of the house are huddled “in front of the great fire”. They are so terrified, that they cannot alienate themselves by reading, thinking or else by talking to each other. They sit there helplessly waiting for the worst to happen. In this poem, Hughes masterful control of language and imagery gives us a clear and vivid idea of the atmosphere and also what the inhabitants are experiencing. We actually seem to be hearing the winds howling and “stampeding” uncontrollably. This poem represents the unimaginable power of nature compared to the vulnerability and insignificance of man. It is made of 6 quatrains and their length is quite uniform. This could be because the poem is written in the house and the poet thinks that he can still exercise some control amidst the chaos the wind is creating. The rhythm is not constant throughout. At the beginning there is a fast galloping rhythm, which, reflect the speed and intensity of the wind. The use of enjambment creates a sense of breathlessness as if the sentences themselves are moving uncontrollably by the wind. However there is a shift in rhythm in the last two stanzas where the inhabitants are described. The slow rhythm could reflect that the time is passing too slowly for them. They seem to be counting the minutes for the storm to pass. This change in rhythm is underscored by the frequent use of punctuation.