October Dawn By Ted Hughes
October Dawn October is marigold, and yet A glass half full of wine left out First a skin, delicately here Restraining a ripple from the air; To the dark heaven all night, by dawn Has dreamed a premonition Soon plate and rivet on pond and brook; Then tons of chain and massive lock Of ice across its eye as if The ice-age had begun to heave. To hold rivers. Then, sound by sight Will Mammoth and Saber-tooth celebrate The lawn overtrodden and strewn From the night before, and the whistling green Reunion while a fist of cold Squeezes the fire at the core of the world, Shrubbery are doomed. Ice Has got its spearhead into place. Squeezes the fire at the core of the heart, And now it is about to start.
The metaphor implies that the arrival of October brings fall color to the trees. October is marigold, and yet A glass half full of wine left out The wine glass represents civilization. Allusion to time, when nature destroyed life on earth, infers that it will happen again. To the dark heaven all night, by dawn Has dreamed a premonition Of ice across its eye as if The ice-age had begun to heave. The sight of the season, coupled with the wine left outside, causes the speaker to phase into a vision of the future.
Speaker views remnant of evenings event and transitions into nature’s ability to destroy. Because “man” is destructive ( as noted by the remnants of a party, Nature will triumph again by using its weapon of “ice. ” Poet creates a myth of a wedding party on the lawn to emphasize the continuum that he finds in the world of Nature—a world filled with destructive forces. The lawn overtrodden and strewn From the night before, and the whistling green Ice is personified as a Shrubbery are doomed. Ice Has got its spearhead into place. weapon because the The word “Whistling” infers that cold wind will soon follow; hence, the “Shrubbery are doomed. ” coming winter destroys life. This weapon alludes to the world’s past, destructive Ice Age.
“Skin” personifies winter as a reminder of what civilization has wrought. As the strength of ice grows, the imagery becomes industrial to mirror the destruction that civilization has caused. First a skin, delicately here Restraining a ripple from the air; Soon plate and rivet on pond and brook; Then tons of chain and massive lock To hold rivers. The “chain and massive lock” reveal the Nature cannot be defeated for the forces of cold are “lock[ed]” into place. The image of battle is juxtaposed with the “delicate” skin that can be torn by the spearhead. Note the emphatic use of monosyllabic words in the third line used to emphasize the force of nature.
The “reunion” is a return to Nature, one that requires the destruction of man, which is ironically induced by the destruction of nature. …Then, sound by sight Will Mammoth and Saber-tooth celebrate Reunion while a fist of cold Squeezes the fire at the core of the world, Two prehistoric beasts that were enemies—just like man and nature. Man and Nature are linked again as having “fire at the core. ” Squeezes the fire at the core of the heart, The “fist” creates am image of a Andthe now it is about to start. fight, and thus another image of Brevity of final line shows inevitable conclusion—the destruction of man when Nature revolts. destruction.
2015 Writing Prompt “The poetic voice of blood and guts. ” In what ways do you find this an appropriate description of Hughes’s poetry? Refer to two poems in your answer. In what ways and with what effects does Hughes present violence in two poems?