Prelude to an article

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave,until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and Preserver; hear, O hear!


Thou on whose stream, ‘mid the steep sky’s commotion,
Loose clouds like Earth’s decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith’s height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: O hear!


Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiae’s bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave’s intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic’s level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: O hear!


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! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne’er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.


Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
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 thoughts 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

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?


Ode to the West Wind by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1819)

April 24, 2009. Uncategorized.


  1. aferrismoon replied:

    HiberNationReminded The Emerald Isle got called HIBER-nia by the RomansHiber = winter [ in French = Hiver]Winter writes the Song that spring will sing

  2. Michael Skaggs replied:

    Ahh yes, winter's subtle hand will be laid upon your area soon, while spring has sprung here. Well done Wise, beautiful stuff, and I see it's another "Shelley", sync wink again?Looking forward to your further investigations! Thank you for the wonderful poetry and the images were divine.Cheers my friend.WV = teessins is that TEES & SINS?LOL ;) bring it on I say!

  3. wise woman replied:

    Hi AferrismoonDefinitely no hibernation here this winter – too many leaves & rocks to turn over while snuffling out interesting 'scents'.The Romans did have a way with words'n'conquering.Indeed winter is the 'beginning' – right now Autumn is in full amber splendour.Cheers from a Harvest Moon to a 'Moon of the Red Grass Appearing'. MichaelWell spotted on the Shelley synch – indeed finding a poem that linked to my next article AND having him as the writer was true poetry – esp as he forms part of yet another 'part'.Well I'm so busy at the moment I'm not sure if I've got time for 'golf' AND sins! – maybe just 'tea' & the odd non-mortal trespass!LOL I haven't signed (or sinned) in yet & see my word veri is 'perging' – bugger that!!Cheers my friend

  4. Devin replied:

    What a beautiful poem! I have seen much of his work and don’t know how I could have missed this one over the years=I guess that is the difference between a self-education and a formal education in some areas-once again your images are glorious in their own right-your friend always!! Hi also to aferris and Michael-enjoyed your comments also! Yes” Hibernia”indeed-and also a way with ” words n conquering” :-) there is a Roman poet called Horace whose work i like-but just recently I saw his views on “having his way” with little kids and it is hard for me to seperate the man and his deeds now! thanks again for the beautiful poem and images!!

  5. wise woman replied:

    Glad you enjoyed Devin :)However you have put a slight ‘shadow’ on a character from a series of books I have enjoyed – there is another ‘Horace’ who is a lawyer – his surname …uhmmmm is ‘Rumpole’ – said out loud it is a bit disconcerting!

  6. Little Jon Kidd replied:

    Thanks wise. I find mind is relative to season. I never really noticed until this last year how seriously the sun affects my mood.WV ‘Paled’ in blue…. I’m not depressed. But winter gears me down.

  7. wise woman replied:

    Hi JonI was talking to a friend the other day who comes from Nigeria, he told me about his uncle who was born in the early 1900's & remembered when 'time' was of no importance & people just lived by seasons. I think because we are so shut off from the cycle of life it can take us a very long time to notice that the seasons do indeed affect us. I have a real bone to pick with 'daylight saving' which I'm sure is a very clever means of disrupting our natural senses even more…mutter, grumble :)ATB & shine on.

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