Guest poem submitted by Cristina Gazzieri:
For those who like Romanticism, Shelley's 'Dirge' has incredible appeal. The natural elements (wind, storm, wood, caves, main) are presented alongside with a series of adjectives of an indisputably Romantic nature, suggesting utter desolation and dark melancholy (rough, sullen, sad, vain). The few verbs (moanest, knells, wail) also reinforce the idea of deep grief and wasting sorrow. The word "wind" is repeated twice in this short poem and as in the more famous 'Ode to the West Wind' it stands out as the central element of the composition. As in the 'Ode...' the wind is connected with the tree - note the analogues sky=cloud, Earth=wood caves, Sea=main - in a poetic structure which is yet much more compressed than the long, complex and repetitive composition of the former poem. Moreover, the parallel structure of lines 1-3-5-6 gives the poem a strongly marked rhythm which adds to the intensity, especially thanks to the fact that there is only one final verb that supports the whole poem: wail. Natural elements are constantly personified in the poem (the wind moans, the clouds are sullen, the storm is sad and sheds tears) so that the poet establishes a connection between natural elements and human feelings, which, being attributed to the different natural backgrounds of the earth become somewhat universal. I also think that in the poem there are traces of the ancient topos of man as a tree in the use of the words "whose brances strain", but I admit, I could be forcing the interpretation here. Though I do not like all Romantic poetry I find in this poem by Shelley a force and greatness I could not disregard. Cristina.