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The poem opens with a stark, seemingly distressed, statement: ‘The wind blew all my wedding-day.’, spoken by the persona who is a female peasant just entering the matrimonial bond. In the second line this shock is mitigated with the qualifying statement that wind and wedding are not only related alliteratively but also symbolically. Symbol and reality are inverted again when we have the repetitive banging and the inevitable mildly heroic male duty of having to go and shut the gate. At once, the relief of perceiving marriage as a positive force is threatened by the lurking, slightly sinister, doubt at being left ‘stupid in candlelight, hearing rain’. Seeing her distorted face or her face distorted in the “twisted candlelight” emphasizes the macabre, albeit ephemeral, effect suggesting fear and danger. The underlying anxiety in the poem is that this relatively euphoric sensation may, after all, only be short-lived. This feeling is revealed subtly at the end of the stanza when she says” and I was sad / That any man or beast that night should lack/ The happiness I had’.
Relief comes again in the second stanza when the dark storm subsides. The effects are still to be seen around. The sexual undertones of the wind’s ravelling and the waters’ flooding are fortified by the phrase “bodying-forth…of joy’. This further transforms into the continuous threading of beads, in my opinion, signifying the various chores that make up our life. Some critics associate the beads with rosary beads and thus with prayer. I find this quite unconvincing especially since the rosary is associated mostly with Catholic Religion and exposure to this denomination came more strongly later through the relationship with Maeve Brennan.
The elation here is so great that she asks three rhetorical questions implying that the joy was so great that it transcends everything and nothing can stop it. She is filled with gratitude for ‘all the generous waters’ (kneeling as cattle) . But like the cattle and like all that is associated with the land and farming, her love and joy are subject to the whims and fancies of capricious nature and therefore are veering on the edge of vulnerability.
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7/22/2021 4:46:35 AM # 126.96.36.1993