In ‘The Wind’ Seth explores themes of struggle, the human condition, and solitude. The poem begins and ends swiftly with a series of images that depict the battle between humankind and their inner and outer lives.
Explore The Wind
Summary of The Wind
The speaker describes his emotional solitude and how there is no “companion” to how he feels. He’s out walking, pushing against the wind as he tries to get wherever he is going. But, in the last line, the wind turns into a different kind of companion. He bows to it as he walks into its force.
You can read the full poem here.
Structure of The Wind
‘The Wind’ by Vikram Seth is a four-line poem that is contained within one short stanza of text. The lines follow a rhyme scheme of ABAB, rhyming perfectly. They are also all around the same length. Each line contains four sets of two beats, for a total of eight syllables per line with varying stresses.
Poetic Techniques in The Wind
Despite its brevity, Seth makes use of several poetic techniques in ‘The Wind’. These include but are not limited to alliteration, metaphor, enjambment, and imagery. The latter refers to the elements of a poem that engage a reader’s senses. Traditionally, the word “image” is related to visual sights, things that a reader can imagine seeing, but imagery is much more than that.
It is something one can sense with their five senses. In this case, even with the short lines, the poet has been able to create a clear image of someone walking into the wind, struggling against it.
Alliteration occurs when words are used in succession, or at least appear close together, and begin with the same sound. For example, “Bow” and “buffet” in the last line and “wind,” “walk,” and “wind” in lines two, three, and four.
A metaphor is a comparison between two unlike things that does not use “like” or “as” is also present in the text. When using this technique a poet is saying that one thing is another thing, they aren’t just similar. In the case of ‘The Wind,’ the poet creates a short poem that alludes to the larger struggle that this person, and all people, go through in life. The wind becomes an obstacle to be dealt with but also a companion that one has throughout life.
Another important technique commonly used in poetry is enjambment. It occurs when a line is cut off before its natural stopping point. Enjambment forces a reader down to the next line, and the next, quickly. One has to move forward in order to comfortably resolve a phrase or sentence. For example, the transition between lines three and four.
Analysis of The Wind
With no companion to my mood,
In the first lines of ‘The Wind,’ the speaker begins by making a simple statement about himself. He says that there is “no companion to [his] mood”. It is unclear if this is in reference to only that moment or to all the days of his life. Either way, the first line alludes to solitude and loneliness. The speaker is fighting with or contending with something that is not easy. It is made harder by the fact that there is no one there for him to discuss it with. There isn’t anyone who understands what he’s going through.
The second line brings “The wind” into the poem. It is the most prominent feature in these four short lines. It becomes a kind of companion to the speaker. As he walks he is moving “Against the wind”. This feels correct to him. In his mood, in his life at the moment, walking into the wind, where it is pushing against him, is the right way to be moving through the world.
This struggle represents the less clear inner struggle the speaker is going through. Just as he is pushing against the wind so too is he struggling with his emotions and mental state.
I walk, but in my solitude
In the third line, the speaker explains that he is walking. Despite the force of the wind and his solitude, he continues on his journey. This is a metaphor for the long walk of life. He has to continue on and make his way through all trials and tribulations because that is just how life is.
The wind, due to its great strength and irremovability, becomes a companion to the speaker. It is there, buffeting or battering him, forcing him to struggle and he bows to it. This alludes to the shape one’s body makes as they walking into the wind. They lean forward, trying to plow a path through it without being knocked off their feet. The “Bow” raises several different images, those of subjugation and acceptance are at the top of the list. It feels as though he has accepted his fate and is willing to deal with what may come his way.