'Winter' by Edwin Morgan


CfE Higher English Mind Map on 'Winter' by Edwin Morgan, created by NinaJasT on 03/27/2015.
Mind Map by NinaJasT, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by NinaJasT about 8 years ago

Resource summary

'Winter' by Edwin Morgan
  1. Overview
    1. In Winter, Edwin Morgan writes about death and the relentless passing of time.
      1. In this poem, Morgan depicts a frozen pond, that becomes a symbol of death.
        1. The speaker descirbes the relentless passing of time and death, and shows how vitality fades and as conclusion disappears.
          1. The metaphor of the pond as life is particularly effective as we see that, with the passing seasons, all things change and are part of a natural process.
    2. Form and Structure
      1. The speaker uses the past tense to reflect on time and mortality
        1. In the first ten lines, the speaker establishes the setting and melancholic mood of the poem.
          1. He considers the passing of the seasons on the pond and, through his word choice and imagery, reveals death as the central concern of the poem.
          2. In the latter section of the poem, he focuses on one particularly vivid memory to reflect on the paradox that although death is a certainty, it remains an enigma which even poets’ imaginations cannot decipher.
            1. The word choice and imagery are powerful and create a bleak sombre mood, while repetition and enjambment emphasise the inexorable and cyclical nature of the passing of time.
        2. Lines 1-10
          1. "The year goes, the woods decay, and many a summer dies."
            1. Deterioration and death are two prominent ideas from the start. 'Death' and 'decay' contribute to an idea of ageing and, eventually, passing away. 'Decay' also suggests that, over time, things become less vibrant.
            2. "The swan on Bingham's pond, a ghost, comes and goes."
              1. The metaphor used links to the idea of ebbing away. It establishes a sense of melancholy, as a swan is supposed to be a beauiful creature that represents pruity, but here it is haunting
              2. "Blinking in the heavy light"
                1. Oxymoron, creates a vivid impression of the winter sunlight that illuminates but provides little warmth and is almost oppressive.
                2. "Poets would find it."
                  1. Optimism emerges, as even though there is lack of colour, the implication is that even in the darkest, coldest of days, the memory and promise of summer can still be recalled if we allow our consciousness to find it.
                  2. The contrast between the vitality and energy of summer and the cold stillness of winter is captured through a description of colour.
                    1. We are told that the water, frozen as ice, appears opaque and is "swan-white" and "crystal". This absence of colour gives an impression of a scene that is drained of life.
                  3. Line 11-End
                    1. While the ice-skaters provided a moment of lively animation, they too are soon gone. The repition of the negative verbs "fades" and "decay"emphasises the leaching of life from the scene.
                      1. "The woods that fall, decay and break."
                        1. All things deterioate.
                        2. "Run off into the darkness and disappear."
                          1. Here the blackness becomes the end of the spirit of life, swallowing all sense of lively energy.
                          2. "When fog drives monstrous down the dual-carriageway."
                            1. Metaphor- light, which is always a metaphor for something positive has been replaced by fog, which is frightening.
                              1. The fog causes the light to fade and die. It represents the passing of time
                            2. "That sees nothing and that nothing sees."
                              1. Bleak, nihilistic ending. Repetition of "nothing" emphasises the fundamental, cold reality of death- everything ends.
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