" Ode to the West Wind " translate the poet's own vision of poetry and life. Explain with examples

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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To underscore the theme of transformation by the power of Nature, the literary trope of Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind" is personification, which thereby equates the wind's powers with those of the poet.  Interestingly, it is as though the poet wishes for a reversal of this personification of the wind as he implores it to transform him with its power:

If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;

If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;

A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free

Than thou, O Uncontrollable!....

The most powerful call to the Wind are the lines that contain the simile in which the poet implores the Wind to

Drive my dead thoughts over the Universe

like withered leaves to quicken a new birth

Here the poet desires that Nature destroy all his useless thoughts so that he can be "unpersonified" as a Vessel for the Wind and, thus, awaken the Earth since through degeneration there is regeneration.

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Shelley in his "Ode to the West Wind" equates his poetry with the West Wind.  As the wind is a transforming power in nature, so can his poetry be a transforming power intellectually and poetically.

The wind ushers in and creates the seasons, the West Wind in autumn, and its sister in the spring (part I).  The winds bring new weather and climate.

In Part V, Shelley pleads with the West Wind to let him do the same, figuratively, with his poetry:

Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is [whistling is created as the wind passes through the forest]:

What if my leaves are falling like its own!

The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

 

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,

Sweet though in sadness.  Be thou, Spirit fierce,

My spirit!  Be thou me, impetuous one!

 

Drive my dead thought over the universe

Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!

And, by the incantation of this verse,

 

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth

Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!

Be through my lips to unawakened earth...

Shelley's vision is that his poetry will transform art, poetry, life, as the West Wind transforms nature.

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