Poetry Sunday: The Wind Frost by Susanna Moodie

Susanna Moodie was a Canadian writer of prose and poetry in the 19th century. Prose was probably her greatest strength as a writer and she was quite well-known in her day. I made her acquaintance last week through a blog called Edith's Miscellany which featured this poem.

I found the poem very evocative of those cold winds that come down from the frozen North at this time of year and decided to feature it here as my poem of the week. Can't you just hear that wind whistling through the "groaning boughs" of the trees as it whirls their leaves down to the ground and feel the frost of its breath as it crushes and destroys "every herb and flower"? 


The Wind Frost

(from Enthusiasm and Other Poems: 1831)

by Susanna Moodie

I come o'er the hills of the frozen North,
To call to the battle thy armies forth:
I have swept the shores of the Baltic sea,
And the billows have felt my mastery;
They resisted my power, but strove in vain—
I have curbed their might with my crystal chain.
I roused the northwind in his stormy cave,
Together we passed over land and wave;
I sharpened his breath and gave him power
To crush and destroy every herb and flower;
He obeyed my voice, and is rending now
The sallow leaves from the groaning bough;
And he shouts aloud in his wild disdain,
As he whirls them down to the frozen plain:
Those beautiful leaves to which Spring gave birth
Are scattered abroad on the face of the earth.
I have visited many a creek and bay,
And curdled the streams in my stormy way;
I have chilled into hail the genial shower:—
All this I have done to increase thy power.

Comments

  1. I can see why you were captivated by this poem. I feel a definite Canadian influence. Also she captured that intention of almost dastardly power I always get from wind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It’s a power that a lot of the country is feeling this weekend.

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  2. How beautiful! I like the cadence and the rhyme. The imagery is simply glorious and spot on. It's true that sometimes the wind "screams". I especially liked,

    "...And he shouts aloud in his wild disdain,
    As he whirls them down to the frozen plain..."

    And this,
    "I have visited many a creek and bay,
    And curdled the streams in my stormy way;
    I have chilled into hail the genial shower:—
    All this I have done to increase thy power."

    So, so true! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you have really understood the spirit of this poem.

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    2. How not to?! I'm a New Englander at heart. ;-) I think I was one even before becoming one.

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