Wind and Window Flower

Wind and Window Flower

By Robert Frost

Lovers, forget your love,
And list to the love of these,
She a window flower,
And he a winter breeze.

When the frosty window veil
Was melted down at noon,
And the cagèd yellow bird
Hung over her in tune,

He marked her through the pane,
He could not help but mark,
And only passed her by,
To come again at dark.

He was a winter wind,
Concerned with ice and snow,
Dead weeds and unmated birds,
And little of love could know.

But he sighed upon the sill,
He gave the sash a shake,
As witness all within
Who lay that night awake.

Perchance he half prevailed
To win her for the flight
From the firelit looking-glass
And warm stove-window light.

But the flower leaned aside
And thought of naught to say,
And morning found the breeze
A hundred miles away.

Summary of Wind and Window Flower

  • Popularity of “Wind and Window Flower”: ‘The wind and the Window Flower’ is a heart-touching poem written by Robert Frost, one of the greatest American poets and writers. The poem first appeared in 1913 in his collection A Boy’s Will. It revolves around the subject of love. The poem beautifully illustrates with a touch of realism how sometimes things do not go according to our plans.
  • “Wind and Window Flower” As a Representative of Love: This poem is about unrealized love that loses its charm. The poem begins with the representation of two lovers to whom the poet compares with the window flower and the winter breeze. He praises the elegance and beauty of the flower trapped in a cage. When the frosty icy shards melt, the caged flower displays mesmerizing beauty of nature. The breeze, on the other hand, is helpless. Despite being destructive and powerful, it is unable to touch the flower: it just passes by her. While describing the nature of the wind, the poet says that it is not soothing, calm, and normal wind. Rather, it is numb, bitter, and cold.
    The coldness of the wind metaphorically represents the inability of the man not to gain the attention of his beloved. He tries hard to make his presence felt to the woman, yet the barrier between them never lets them become tied to each other. Unfortunately, when the man receives a cold response from the flower, he is disheartened and decides to leave the beloved (flower) for good. Once the breeze leaves the flower, the flower feels something is amiss, but it is too late. Only sadness and memories of incomplete love stay behind.
  • Major Themes in “Wind and Window Flower”: Love, ignorance, and realization of love are the significant themes of the text. The poem revolves around unrequited love. The speaker compares two lovers with the flower and the winter breeze to show how sometimes we fail to understand the value of the things we possess. Throughout the text, he tries to portray the efforts of the wind how he tries to woo the flower to understand his love yet fails in his mission. The flower does not realize the importance of the wind until it leaves the flower and never comes back. The speaker does not talk about any fictitious or imaginary world of love. Rather, he tries to make his readers realize that sometimes things prove transient.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “Wind and Window Flower”

literary devices are important elements of a literary text to bring richness to the text and make the reader visualize and understand the hidden meanings. Robert Frost has also made this poem superb by using figurative language. Here is the analysis of some literary devices used in this poem.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line. For example, the sound of /aw/ in “And thought of naught to say”.
  2. Alliteration: It is the use of consonant sounds in the first of two successive word. For example, /w/ in “He was a winter wind” and the sound of /h/ in “Perchance he half prevailed”.
  3. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line. For example, the sound of /n/ in “And morning found the breeze.”
  4. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought in verse that does not come to an end at a line break; instead, it rolls over to the next line. For example,

Perchance he half prevailed
To win her for the flight
From the firelit looking-glass
And warm stove-window light.”

  1. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “From the firelit looking-glass”, “He gave the sash a shake” and “But the flower leaned aside.”
  2. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between the objects that are different. The poet has used an extended metaphor of unattainable love throughout the poem.
  3. Personification: Personification is to give human qualities to inanimate objects. The poet has personified a window flower and winter breeze to narrate a story about unrequited love.
  4. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. “Window Flower” symbolizes the girl and “winter-breeze” stands for the man.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “Wind and Window Flower”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. End Rhyme: End rhyme is used to make the stanza melodious. For example, “dark/mark”, “light/fight” and “these/breeze.”
  2. Quatrain: A quatrain is a four-lined stanza borrowed from Persian poetry. Here each stanza is quatrain.
  3. Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows the ABCB rhyme scheme and this pattern continues until the end.
  4. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are seven stanzas in this poem with each comprising four lines.

Quotes to be Used

The lines stated below are useful to teach poetic techniques to the students.

Lovers, forget your love,
And list to the love of these,
She a window flower,
And he a winter breeze.”