Lines Composed in a Wood on a Windy Day
Written: December 1842.  First Published: 1846.

Anne started writing this poem shortly before Christmas while walking in a wood called 'The Long Plantation' at Thorp Green. She completed it over her Christmas holidays while at home in Haworth. It is dated 30th December 1842.

Anne shows here how she enjoyed wild weather: she describes how the 'wild wind' is bringing everything to life in the wood where she is walking, and how she longs to be at Scarborough witnessing its effect on the sea - 'lashing' against the rocks and sea wall, and sending up giant 'whirlwinds of spray' (see 'The Last Word' - accessed from 'Main Page'). She repeats this desire some five years later in Agnes Grey:

'But the sea was my delight; and I would often gladly pierce the town to obtain the pleasure of a walk beside it . . . It was delightful to me at all times and seasons, but especially in the wild commotion of a rough sea breeze, and in the brilliant freshness of a summer morning.'

There is a note, in Anne's handwriting, at the bottom of the poem manuscript which states: 'Composed in the Long-Plantation on a wild bright windy day.' Several years ago, Edward Chitham identified the 'Long-Plantation' as a wood situated to the east of Kirby Hall, and making its way towards the River Ouse.116  It stands about a mile north of Thorp Green.

Some regard this as one of Anne's best poems.

Anne made only a few slight punctuation changes to the manuscript version for it's inclusion in Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell; and this is the version presented below.

(Chitham, 'A Life of Anne Brontë', p.12 & p.97: also 'The Poems of Anne Brontë', p.88 & p.175)

My soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring
And carried aloft on the wings of the breeze;
For above and around me the wild wind is roaring,
Arousing to rapture the earth and the seas.

The long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing,
The bare trees are tossing their branches on high;
The dead leaves, beneath them, are merrily dancing,
The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky.

I wish I could see how the ocean is lashing
The foam of its billows to whirlwinds of spray;
I wish I could see how its proud waves are dashing,
And hear the wild roar of their thunder today!


Copyright © 1999 Michael Armitage

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