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The wind flung a magpie away and a black-
Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly…
— Ted Hughes, “Wind”

2015-12-23 16.18.31-23This poem is full of remarkable metaphors: a house “far out at sea all night,” the woods “crashing through darkness,” the “skyline a grimace,” the house ringing “like some fine green goblet in the note / That any second would shatter it.” My favorite image from this poem, though, is in the two lines above, a “black- / Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly.” The exaggerated alliteration of the b sound combined with the staccato rhythm of the short syllables seems to conjure the brutal strength of the wind, a tension that is released in the very different sound of slowly. Every time I read this poem I feel as though I can see the gull straining and straining against the storm’s winds, its wings extended, and then, when its strength is finally gone, its form slowly bending before it is swept away.

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