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P. B. Shelley's poem is an invocation to the power of the west wind. The poet associates with it, the power of nature as well as the transcendental world of the divine. The divine order for Shelley is a matter of power. Throughout the poem, Shelley sees the 'unseen presence' of the west wind in terms of a revolutionary force that gets rid of the old thoughts and ushers in the new. The idea is carried through the image of the dead leaves which are taken to their graves by the chariot of the wind until in spring, winged seeds sprout to new life. It is in this way that the wind is both a destroyer and a preserver.
It is a celebration of the new year, waiting to arrive and mourns the passing away of the old. The locks of the approaching storm in the wake of the wind is compared to the fierce locks of Maenad. The wind is the figure of inspiration for the poet. He wants to imbibe from it, the revolutionary sparkles and scatter it across humankind. The wind awakens the sea from its slumber where it had been dreaming of old palaces and towers which tremble on the surface of the water. The wind is fearfully dominant and the poet only wants to play second fiddle to him, knowing well after the passing away of his youthful arrogance that it is impossible to match its prowess.
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