Wind

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Wind

  • As 'Wind' is about the power of the forces of the natural world it can be used in an essay with any other of the poems.It is an excellent poem to use because there is so much to say about it.

In this poem, Hughes describes some extreme weather conditions; namely a wind that reaches toward hurricane force. The poem starts with the house,moves outside to describe how the landscape is affected by the wind, and then in the final stanza returns back to the house.

Hughes manages to create in this poem a tremendous dramatic picture ofa landscape attacked by extreme weather. There are many images of the power and violence of the storm-wind. For instance, in the second stanza,Hughes imagines the wind as being like some huge Anglo-Saxon warrior:

'Wind wielded blade-light.'

In our modern homes we can feel pretty protected and distant form nature. And perhaps this can make us a little arrogant about environmental issues. In this poem, Hughes tries to re-connect us to nature and show how vulnerable we actually are to environmental catastrophe.

But as well as being frightening and awesome,the wind is also creative; it breaks things apart but this allows them tobe re-created, or seen afresh. Even the 'hills had new places.'

If you have ever stood high-up somewhere exposed on a windy day you will know the feeling you get of a strong wind, clearing your head, blowing out the cobwebs and generally freshening things up.

The wind in this poem has a similar effect. Its capacity to control, shape,change and create things makes it a possible metaphor for creativity, forwriting, for the inspiration that energises the poet.

It is a terrific poem. So just enjoy listening to it, concentrating hardon hearing and feeling and seeing the images...

Many of the words and lines and images in the poem create a sense of danger. 'The woods crashing through darkness', for instance, makes us hear the panic and destruction unleashed by the storm-wind. 'The booming hills'may make us think of explosions, of bombs and detonations, or of a warning drum, perhaps. Either way, it is as if the hills are being blown apart in some kind of war.

Wind

Poetic technics

Hughes' poem is packed with imagery. Almost every line contains a vivid, dramatic image.

For instance, the first line 'This house has been far out at sea all night', contains a sort of hidden simile or metaphor. If the house has been out to sea it must be like a boat.

The simple words 'far out' and 'all night' are also powerfully suggestive in this context. A boat far out at sea during a terrible storm, is isolated and in considerable danger. 'All night' suggests that the house/boat has had to endure the worst of the storm-wind for what seemed to the occupants a very long time. Think of being awake 'all night' to get a sense of how long that can seem to be.

Wind

The effect is to convey just how powerful, intense, prolonged and dangerousthis storm-wind must have been to make a solid house feel like a ship all at sea.

A similar effect is worked in the line 'And feel the roots of the house move' in the final stanza. Here the house is compared to a tree to convey the fact that the wind seems to have got under Hughes' home and made it vulnerable, as if it might be ripped out, uprooted from its environment. The work of man is shown to be no more secure than any other part of nature.

Hughes' sensual imagery makes us experience the poem. Drag and drop the three icons onto the relevant quotes in the poem:

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As well as the sensual imagery, there is a number of key metaphors and similes in the poem...

  • In the exam you would only need to pick out a few of the key images.The bulk of marks go for your analysis of their effect.

Form

Like 'Hawk Roosting', 'Wind' is written in six, four line stanzas.

However, the flow of the poem is very different. Where many lines in 'Hawk Roosting' stop at the end of the line, with a full stop, Hughes uses enjambment in Wind.

Enjambment is when sentences, in poems,run over the end of one line and into the next one(s). In 'Wind' lines spill into each other and the end of one stanza runs into the start of the next.This effect is enhanced by Hughes's punctuation:

In 'HR' Hughes uses 14 full stops or colons.

Click the correct answer to the question below:

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Together, the enjambment, punctuation and the varying line lengths create the sense of movement and energy in the poem, as if everything, even the poem, has become slightly unfixed by the power of the wind.

The enjambment also allows Hughes to create effects such as the isolation of the words 'The house' at the end of the fourth stanza. These two small words seem to hang, exposed perilously, at the end of the line.

The irregular rhyme scheme is like an attempt to order and control the poem, and the wind. But the wind is bursting with energy and cannot be restrained by either the order of the stanzas, or by the control of a rhyme scheme.

Image: Effect:
'The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guy-rope.' As in 'Hawk Roosting' Hughes uses here the device of changing the size and scale of things. So in order to convey the force of the wind Hughes reduces something as massive and permanent as a range of 'hills' to something as flimsy and vulnerable as a 'tent'.
'The house/ Rang like some fine green goblet in the note/ That any second would shatter it.' The same technique works here where a solid house is made to feel as fragile as a fine glass.
'The wind flung a magpie away and a black-/ back gull bent like an iron bar slowly.' There is a lot going on in these two lines. First the wind is personified as a kind of casual God throwing away what it rejects (the magpie). In the second half of the line a simile is used to compare a gull to an iron bar. And the sound of the lines is muscular; the rhythm is like a tongue twister. Working together they imitate the physical bending of the gull. Alliteration, rhyme, and single syllables combine to create this physical effect. It is as if the line itself is being twisted and bent.
'Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.' The stones here are personified. As have been the woods, the fields (quivering), the sky (a grimace) wind, and the windows (tremble). It is as if the whole landscape is alive and suffering from the ground to the sky. The personification also blurs the distinction between the human and 'natural' world?. It reconnects us with our environment.
Subject
The poem is about how extreme weather can make even modern man feel frightened and vulnerable and part of the natural environment.
The wind may be a metaphor for the power of creativity.

Attitude
The wind is frightening, but the tone of the poem is one full of excitement, awe, and anticipation.
Hughes isn't criticising the wind. Although perhaps he is a criticising human for forgetting how powerful nature can be.
Style
The poem is packed with sensual imagery, metaphor, simile, and personification. Every line has a strong, vivid image in it.
The form of the poem, the fluid lines and stanzas matches the way the wind moves the landscape.

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