Ted Hughes give us a short introduction to his poem “Wind” poem in “Poetry in the making”.

”On and off I live on a house on top of a hill in the Pennines, where the wind blows without obstruction across the tops of the moors. I have experienced some gales in that house, and here is a poem I once wrote about one of them. The grass of the fields there is a particularly brilliant watered green, and the stone walls of the enclosures that cover the hill-sides like great nets thrown over whales look coal black. The poem is simply called: Wind.”

The house referred to here is the house on top of a hill in the Pennines. The belligerent effects of the wind are underlined in the prescribed poem; as when it tends to get violent. The house is situated on top of a hill, therefore it is island-like in its solitude. The poet here describes it as a boat stranded on a stormy sea as he states: “This house has been far out at sea all night.” The pounding effects of the wind resembles that of a boat enraged at sea. The wind is so intense that it appears as though the storm is a prolonged one. The aggressive wind produces violent effects as though woods crash through the darkness, the thunder of the storms make it appear as though the hills are booming.

As the winds make their way across the field, and as one witnesses the same through the window, the fields appear to be crushed by a stampede. One is overwhelmed by the tremendous darkness. The phrase ‘blinding wet’ suggests that the storm is so full that it renders their vision blind to the landscape. It may also imply that owing to the impact of the storm, the blindings on the window have become wet.

The storm went on till the day rose. The word ‘rose’ in the phrase the “day rose”, may mean that the sun ‘rose’.It may also denote the ‘roseate colour’ of the sky owing to sunrise. Under the tremendous impact of the wind, one was forced to believe that the hills had new places. So sharp was the effect of the wind, that it appeared as though it wielded the light like a blade. The loud effect of the wind is likened to the luminous black and emerald lexing of a mad eye. Hughes brings out the vile surrealism in the image. 

The field seems to be quivering owing to the overwhelming effects of the wind, the skyline (horizon) appears to be contorted. The skyline comes across as weak to the eye,in the presence of the fierce, reckless wind: it looks as though it may bang and flap like a strip of folded paper. The reckless wind flung a magpie away. The black gull undeterred in its purpose appeared to be bent like an iron bar gradually. So great was the will-power of the gull.

The poem has been described as an extended metaphor of Hughes’ turbulent relationship with Sylvia Plath. The recurring ‘green color’ in the poem may refer to an element of envy or jealousy in their relationship. They were aware of how fragile their relationship was like a delicate glass (green goblet).They sat in their chairs, a symbol of their domestic domain, and pondered upon the great fire or chaos in their relationship. Relationships could not be limited to thoughts, but must be expressive and practical. Neither could they be preset by two individuals in an association because Human nature could not be altered.

In such a stance, the external surroundings function as an objective correlative of their relationship. They could watch the fire blazing and the roots of the house (relationship) move on. Nevertheless, they had to sit on as they were bond to each other by the ties of matrimony. They could feel the fragile windows (a symbol of insight) close in. They could discern the stones, emblematic of fixity and stability, cry out in abandon. Human beings are powerless in the face of Nature. Here nature has two meanings –the outer manifestation of God’s grandeur, and inner nature. One cannot pre-define emotions, and predetermine relationships. Because, all these eventually depend upon Nature.

© Rukhaya MK 2010

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