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Wind -- Ted Hughes

(Poem #882) Wind
 This house has been far out at sea all night,
 The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
 Winds stampeding the fields under the window
 Floundering black astride and blinding wet

 Till day rose; then under an orange sky
 The hills had new places, and wind wielded
 Blade-light, luminous black and emerald,
 Flexing like the lens of a mad eye.

 At noon I scaled along the house-side as far as
 The coal-house door. Once I looked up --
 Through the brunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes
 The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guyrope,

 The fields quivering, the skyline a grimace,
 At any second to bang and vanish with a flap;
 The wind flung a magpie away and a black-
 Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly. The house

 Rang like some fine green goblet in the note
 That any second would shatter it. Now deep
 In chairs, in front of the great fire, we grip
 Our hearts and cannot entertain book, thought,

 Or each other. We watch the fire blazing,
 And feel the roots of the house move, but sit on,
 Seeing the window tremble to come in,
 Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.
-- Ted Hughes
 From the arresting opening image of a farmhouse being tossed about like a
ship in a storm, right through to the tense, not-quite-resolved ending, this
is a breathtakingly vivid poem. Hughes captures the power of the wind in
phrases that ring with an elemental fury of their own, a wild and
unquenchable energy. This effect is enhanced by his choice of words: 'brunt'
is only the most obvious example of his eschewing pretty Latinate constructs
for gritty Germanic equivalents. Indeed, the ancestry of this poem is very
clear: "Wind" belongs to the tradition of Icelandic sagas and Norse
mythology, poems which celebrate, with a mixture of awe and dread, the
unimaginable power of Nature and the insignificance of Man.


[Minstrels Links]

Ted Hughes:
Poem #42, Hawk Roosting
Poem #98, The Thought Fox
Poem #417, Thistles
Poem #671, Lineage
Poem #723, Full Moon and Little Frieda
Poem #768, Theology

Sylvia Plath:
Poem #53, Winter landscape, with rocks
Poem #129, Ariel
Poem #366, Child
Poem #404, Daddy
Poem #612, Love Letter
Poem #678, Mirror
Poem #881, The Moon and the Yew-tree

Poem #109, The Viking Terror  -- Anon. (Irish, 9th century)
Poem #145, Ice  -- Anon. (Old English, 10th century)
Poem #326, The Seafarer  -- Anon. (Old English, pre-10th century

35 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Divya_Sampath said...

Hi Thomas,

Thanks for today's Ted Hughes. Indeed, it is very powerful. Oddly, I've never
seen this as a comparison of a house to a ship- it reads to me like a
description of a a ship that a sailor thinks of as a house. So to my mind,

"the fields under the window
Floundering black astride and blinding wet"

always referred to the wind tossed sea, "flexing like the lens of a mad eye."

Fascinating to see how someone else interprets the peom!

Thanks again!


margaret winfield said...

Dear Sir,
Having read your website and finding the Ted Hughes poem "Wind", I disussed this with my fellow intellects. They, as I, have seen the comments below, at the bottom of the page, and have taken these into hand, but believe that you have not fully understood the poem.
We all agreed that this poem was written by Hughes to show in an extended metaphor his relationship with his wife, Syvia Plath. She, another poet, often fell into serious cases of the mental disease depression, and is seen in this poem as the wind, "stampeding the fields", totally out of any sort of control, while Hughes himself is pictured as the house, "whose roots move" under the strain of the relationship. The couple grip each other's hearts, trying to keep their marrige intact, although the foundations are "crying out for mercy".
Yours Sincerely,
Edward Winfield(12), London

Robert Koval said...


I believe that all of these views are correct. Hughes was definitely
describing his hectic relationship with Sylvia Plath, but I believe
that the element of nature is meant to signify something greater than
merely his personal life. The insignificance of man is quite evident
as is the troubled relationship.


Boyds said...

Hi Thomas,

Great poem, very moving and write some more.

Chris Boyd

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

I admire Ted Hughes style and love the imagery portrayed throughout, in this extended metaphor.

It has many hidden meanings but I think the way Hughes shows the wind as the most important part gives the continual feeling of nature over man, showing man as merely a pawn on the chessboard.

Yours sincerly.

الاندرويد said...

i could imagine the event from the strength of the words

RBC Online Banking said...

That's a weird rhyme(ish) scheme.

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