Storm Warnings

The glass has been falling all the afternoon,
And knowing better than the instrument
What winds are walking overhead, what zone
Of grey unrest is moving across the land,
I leave the book upon a pillowed chair
And walk from window to closed window, watching
Boughs strain against the sky

And think again, as often when the air
Moves inward toward a silent core of waiting,
How with a single purpose time has traveled
By secret currents of the undiscerned
Into this polar realm. Weather abroad
And weather in the heart alike come on
Regardless of prediction.

Between foreseeing and averting change
Lies all the mastery of elements
Which clocks and weatherglasses cannot alter.
Time in the hand is not control of time,
Nor shattered fragments of an instrument
A proof against the wind; the wind will rise,
We can only close the shutters.

I draw the curtains as the sky goes black
And set a match to candles sheathed in glass
Against the keyhole draught, the insistent whine
Of weather through the unsealed aperture.
This is our sole defense against the season;
These are the things we have learned to do
Who live in troubled regions.

Storm Warnings is a poem of four stanzas made up of seven lines each. It is written in the free verse style in that it does not follow any structure in particular. Storms Warnings discusses the mood building up to an expected storm. It explores the idea that, although we may be able to predict when storms are coming, we still have no control over them due to the unpredictable nature of the weather. We can see this in the third stanza where she writes, “…between foreseeing and averting change lies all the mastery of elements which clocks and weatherglasses cannot alter”. In that line she is saying that, no matter what tools or instruments we might have to measure a storm, we will never be able to stop the storm from happening. This lends itself to the idea that humans are fairly helpless in this universe – we are at the mercy of a lot of things we have no control over. This is related to the nature of life itself, which, much like the weather, is in a constant state of change and uncertainty. The poem’s speaker is probably the poet itself, since she makes use of “I”, and talks about her own experiences. The poet uses many different literary devices throughout. For instance, imagery is used constantly with the author describing the things she sees and hears as the storm approaches. Each stanza of seven lines contains one rhyme or half rhyme (afternoon/zone, abroad/come on, time/rise, season/regions). Also, the poets uses the technique of alliteration in the opening of the poem, where she uses repeating ‘w’ sounds that allude to the wind of the storm (‘what winds are walking overhead, what zone of grey…’ and ‘…walk from window to closed window, watching’). The poet also makes use of both metaphor and personification: metaphor when she says ‘weather abroad and weather in the heart’, with ‘weather in the heart’ referring to human moods, and personification in the way she talks about the wind, saying ‘what winds are walking overhead’.

– Mara Brian

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