I need an explanation of the 2nd and last sections of "Ode to the West Wind"

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the second section, here is a breakdown of each stanza:

1.  Here he declares that the wind breaks the clouds up "like earth's decaying leaves" that are shaken from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean"; in other words, the wind can break apart the clouds so that the scatter about just like leaves from trees in the wind do.  The leaves are the clouds, the trees heaven and the ocean.

2.  He compares rain and lightning to angels, and says the wind spreads them both through the sky "like the bright hair uplifted from the head."  So, the rain and lighting (angels) are spread across the sky like someone's hair that is lifted up and splayed in the wind.

3-5.  He compares the wind to a crazy, intense, wild-woman (Maenad) coming to indicate a coming storm.  He calls it an omen of a funeral (dirge) for the dying year, and that the wind will be the roof of a tomb yielding "black rain, and fire, and hail".  These stanzas describe the wind storming angrily, and a figure bringing death.

Last Section:

1-2.  He wants the wind to make him its voice; he wants to be able to be the wind, to know it and feel what it is.

3-4.  He wants the wind to drive out all of his dead thoughts, and spread his words around the world.

5.  He wants the wind's message to be heard through his lips, and calls it a prophecy hailing the coming of spring.

Sorry for the briefness of that last section; I ran out of space.  I hope that helps!

Read the study guide:
Ode to the West Wind

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