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Ode to the West Wind
Percy Bysshe Shelley


An excerpt


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!
This poem is in the public domain.

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 - 1822) was an English poet, essayist, and novelist. Despite his legacy today as one of the world's finest poets, his radical ideologies kept him from achieving acclaim during his short life. His atheistic beliefs got him expelled from Oxford and ostracized from his family, his adulterous ways cost him custody of his children, and he was plagued with discord and tragedy throughout his life. Even so, Percy managed to enjoy several close friendships, most notably with fellow poets Lord Byron and John Keats, and was able to travel extensively throughout Europe. He drowned at the age of twenty-nine in a storm at sea; many believe he was murdered, while others suspect suicide. Percy's second wife, Mary, was the author of the novel, Frankenstein, created in response to Byron's challenge to a circle of friends to write a ghost story.



Post New Comment:
reminds me of the reverence for nature that Native Americans have...appreciation rather than consumption.
Posted 11/14/2012 10:31 PM
I have a close friend writing a biography of Mary Shelley, which makes this selection doubly interesting. The brief bio attached is remarkably true to the man I've learned of through reviewing this manuscript. He wasn't wonderful, even to Mary, but there was a spirit to him that comes through in this poem.
Posted 11/14/2012 09:13 AM
Larry Schug:
Gotta love those Romantics--the original hippies.
Posted 11/14/2012 08:59 AM
Posted 11/14/2012 08:33 AM
I grant you the 'flower' designation, but who can resist that third stanza? The wing├Ęd seeds, where they lie cold and low, Each like a corpse within its grave,until Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow
Posted 11/14/2012 07:06 AM
Janet Leahy:
To my surprise I really liked this poem, especially the second time around, thanks for bringing Shelley to us this morning.
Posted 11/14/2012 05:50 AM
Don Rossano:
My incisive powers of deduction tell me that you are American. I am an Australian living in the UK. I studied Shelley among others at University about 20,000 years ago, and what you say about his long-windedness seems as true to me now as it did then. I got into trouble as a student for picking on his poem 'A New National Anthem' and singling out what seemed like its ridiculous rhymes in places. I was told: "You should look at the good poems..." Hmmmm. This link would take anyone interested in the poem to an online copy Thanks for the poem and the archive - I look forward to receiving more.
Posted 11/14/2012 04:32 AM

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