The Poem

(Critical Guide to Poetry for Students)

“The Wind Increases” is a short lyric poem in free verse composed of twenty-eight lines. All the lines of the poem are arranged in such a way as to suggest the motion of wind. In this sense, the poem could be said to be a shaped verse, a type of poem in which the typographical shape of the words on the page represents some part of the subject. Because the overall structural pattern of the poem is so loosely arranged, the poem has no set stanzaic form. In fact, Thomas R. Whitaker, in William Carlos Williams (1968), states that the way that the lines are organized encourages the reader to “not think of line-ends”; rather, the set of lines as a whole “dissolve and reconstitute the poetic line as they seek immediacy.” Based upon its content, however, the poem can be divided into five parts. In the first seven lines, the poet describes an approaching storm and tells about the “harried earth,” the trees, and “the tulip’s bright/ tips” being tossed around by the increasing wind. The second part of the poem changes abruptly from this rather literal description of the coming storm to an admonition to the reader: “Loose your love/ to flow.” This sudden shift is made all the more emphatic because it and the third part of the poem are in the form of a command. Moreover, this third part is composed of only the single verb “Blow!” At this point, the reader may believe that the poet is referring to the blowing of the wind, that he is perhaps...

(The entire section is 525 words.)