The Short Analysis Of Winter Swans

In all of the poems from Skirrid Hill, Sheer’s often explores the theme of separation and relationships. The whole anthology of the idea of separation is based on the idea of Christ’s crucifixion and the separation from his son. Skirrid Hill revolves around two poems, ‘Y Gaer’ and ‘The Hillfort’ so it is important to note the linguistic and geographical divide from the English language and geography. Winter swans is a good example of a poem where Sheer’s expressed the theme of relationships and separation. The title Winter Swans clearly interconnects nature and life which is an important feature in Sheer’s poems as humanity relies on nature to survive and nature provides and helps boost one’s psychological well-being and healthiness, which is important for relationships. Winter Swans uses lots of language and poetic devices to illustrate the theme of separation and divorce.

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The premise of ‘Winter Swans’ is fairly straightforward to understand. It involves a couple, going for a walk, who are having troubles and difficulties in their relationship and they encounter swans which reminds them of the importance of love. However, it is not as simple as it may seem as Sheer’s adopts many different techniques and incorporates language to portray an image.

From the first stanza, Sheer’s use of pathetic fallacy is noticeable from ‘Clouds had’, giving the clouds human attributes. Reading the poem, we can gather that there is tension in the relationship and cleverly, Sheer’s builds a negative atmosphere by creating the image of barbaric weather from ‘two days of rain’. It is possible that the atrocious weather exemplifies the state of the relationship between the couple. The word ‘rain’ connotates tears which suggests that there is emotional tension in the relationship, between the couple. The phrase ‘given their all’ suggests that the couple have tried their best to keep the relationship going, however, they are slowly giving up. Here, Sheer’s merges nature and humanity by using nature to demonstrate the relationship state between the couple.

The couple’s walk emphasizes their relationship state, the couple seem to have hit a problem, from the personification of ‘water-logged earth’ we can suggest that the ground is struggling to survive, and we create an image that the couple are in a similar state. From ‘water-logged’ we can suggest there is a sense of breathlessness and an inability to speak, which is further shown via the many enjambments in the text. This creates a sense of distance between the couple as they are trying to repair the relationship without the ability to speak to one another. The ground seems to be struggling to survive and is gasping for air which invokes a sense of the point of death: an end to the relationship. The repetition of ‘w’ suggests that the ground upon which the couple are walking on is slushy, and unevenly textured making it hard to make progress which emphasises the unsteadiness of their relationship.

As we have previously read, the couple seem to have the inability to speak to each other, invoking a sense of separation, this is further emphasised through ‘skirted the lake’ as we get a sense that the couple are dodging their issues. However, it can be suggested that the couple are working on their relationship when they are ‘silent’ and spending time ‘apart’, giving each other space. This shows that Sheer’s is slowly changing the way we look at nature, and instead of creating a sense of distance, it creates unity. Sheers introduces the swans into the poem which took the couple by surprise to which it ‘stopped’ them. The swans portray their behaviour in ‘unison’ which gives the image of togetherness. This possibly reminds the couple of their love which is concealed behind all of their issues.  

07 July 2022

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