What is the meaning of the final line of "Ode to the West Wind"?

The final line of "Ode to the West Wind" means that the speaker anticipates an era of new beginnings, a rebirth of creativity and imagination, following a period of relative stagnation.

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In the final line of the poem, the speaker asks, "O Wind, / If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?" Generally, winter is the season of the year associated with death, while spring, which follows winter, is associated with life. In winter, everything in nature seems to die with the cold, but in spring, the flowers and grasses and trees appear to experience a rebirth of sorts when the sun grows warmer. The speaker seems to conceive of the West Wind as an agent of change, something that acts as both a "destroyer and preserver" as it ushers in both seasons: the one that kills and the one that brings new life. It is "moving everywhere," and it is "uncontrollable" and "tameless."

In driving away his "dead thoughts," like dead leaves, the speaker seems to believe that the West Wind could "quicken a new birth." In other words, the wind could help him to find new inspiration, a new kind of life by ushering in the new season of spring, literally, but also a new season for the speaker, a new era of creativity and increased imagination. The final line gives voice to the speaker's optimism for the future, that the period of creative decline in which he now finds himself will inevitably be followed by a period of inspiration and creative growth, just as spring inevitably follows winter.

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