Winter - Edwin Morgan

Winter - Edwin Morgan

Winter Edwin Morgan Winter Edwin Morgan The poem is full of nihilism*: things keep dying, decaying and disappearing. First colour, then sounds fade away The poem is full of monstrous and disturbing images Winter = a nature poem about death (like Hyena!) * The idea that life has no meaning Winter Themes Nihilism (world / life has no meaning) Despair Humanitys lack of importance in

the world Nature Winter Form Free verse First person narrator Present tense (sense of immediacy?) Lines 1-3 The year goes, the woods decay, and after, Many a summer dies. The swan on Binghams pond, a ghost, comes Alliteration

and goes. Poem feels negative from start first three verbs: goes (repeated), decay and dies All link to loss and sadness The swan rather than representing the beauty of nature, represents death / haunting Losing more than we had Lines 4-7

It goes, and ice appears, it holds, bears gulls that stand around surprised, blinking in the heavy light, bears boys when skates take over swan-tracks gone. Ice survives and holds on when other warmer, livelier things like woods, summer and the swan do not Gulls confused by the ice slightly ridiculous Oxymoron strange quality of winter light

Alliteration boys are first humans in poem Inanimate (not alive) skates emphasised, not boys Lines 8-10 After many summer dyes, the swan-white ice glints only crystal beyond white. Even dearest blues not there, though poets would find it. Contradiction: first white, then beyond

white. Morgan creates first, positive colour, then pulls back from it Irony - cannot see things as a poet normally sees them despite being a poet himself Contributes to bleak mood Lines 11-14 I find one stark scene cut by evening cries, by warring air. The muffled hiss of blades escapes into breath,

hangs with it a moment, fades off. word choice: scene is barren, bleak and desolate First person narrator only introduced now! Humanity is unimportant Poem begins with visual information. Now: sounds. word choice: cut suggests violence 'warring air again suggests violence and conflict Fades = negative recalls goes and

decay Lines 15-16 Fades off, goes, the scene, the voices fade, the line of trees, the woods that fall, decay Two more uses of fades three in total! We are losing something analogy between winter and death Recalls first line repetition of decay

Lines 17-18 and break, the dark comes down, the shouts run off into it and disappear. humanity leaves the poem. First the voices fade (15) as the boys skate away. Then shouts disappear. The darkness = more powerful than the children. boys become not people but just noises, shouts, who

disappear into it. swan / gulls/ skating boys all now gone Only living thing left = woods which are decaying / falling / breaking (hardly full of life) Lines 19 - 21 At last the lamps go too, when fog drives monstrous down the dual carriageway out to the west Fog personified actively threatening Word choice

suggests something evil lying in wait Even nature is left behind ugly / artificial motorway End of the world / frontier? Meaning is ambiguous Lines 21- 24 and even in my room and on this paper I do not know about that grey dead pane of ice that sees nothing and that

nothing sees. very small space, in my room/ and on this paper. narrator feels vulnerable and helpless. Ambiguity - does not know about ice - contradicts earlier lines The ending = very nihilistic: nothingness Repetition Tithonus - Tennyson The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,

The vapours weep their burthen to the ground, Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath, And after many a summer dies the swan. Me only cruel immortality Consumes: I wither slowly in thine arms, Here at the quiet limit of the world, A white-hair'd shadow roaming like a dream The ever-silent spaces of the East, Far-folded mists, and gleaming halls of morn. Alas! for this gray shadow, once a man

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