What are some lines in "Ode to the West Wind" that deal with nature, senses, and emotion?

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Michael Ugulini | (Level 3) Educator

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Some lines in the 70 line poem “Ode to the West Wind” (by English writer Percy Bysshe Shelley) that deal with nature, senses, and emotion include the following:

Nature

In the very first line, Shelley, focusing on the characteristics of an element of nature (wind), describes the force that the west wind is (wild) and what it is like (breath) when he states:

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,

Nature is also conveyed when Shelley describes Autumn leaves and their resplendent colour and the effect the blowing west wind has on these changing leaves that are:

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,

In addition, Shelley describes old palaces and towers that are:

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers

Senses

One of the senses alluded to in the poem is the sense of Hearing. Shelley talks of the west wind blowing, in essence, its ancient trumpet call, as described in this line:

… shall blow

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill

Another sense described in the poem is the sense of Sight. The poet describes the sea in the line:

The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,

Furthermore, another sense highlighted in “Ode to the West Wind” is the sense of Touch or Feeling. Shelley talks of asking the west wind to lift him, and then says:

I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

Emotion

Pertaining to emotion, Shelley shows the depth of emotion he feels for the west wind. This wind is a contradiction to him; he believes that this west wind is both a

Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh hear!

Shelley also shows emotion when he talks about the above-mentioned “moss and flowers” and how they are magnificent on the palaces and towers, so much so that they are to him:

So sweet, the sense faints picturing them!

Additionally, Shelley conveys emotion as he relates that he ponders being a young boy again, and how he could accompany the west wind and:

could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven

The emotion here is a desire to go back to the innocence and simplicity of his youth and enjoy riding the wind freely across Heaven and over the earth.

So, in nine lines in this 70 line poem, the post expertly conveys the essence of nature, the senses, and emotion to his readers so they can experience the poem more fully.

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