To start off with, the title of Rossetti’s poem “The Woodspurge” shows clearly how he uses language to convey nature and identity: “Woodspurge”; a wild flower that is commonly viewed as a weed, is an obvious link to nature but with deeper connotations applying to his identity. The ‘Woodspurge’ can be seen as a metaphor he uses to describe himself with - a useless existence, one that others wish to wipe out as it does not fit in or simply an eyesore.
The poem begins with a queer focus on ‘the wind’. This can also be interpreted as a metaphor for the poet. “The wind flapped loose” suggests that he was in an indecisive state, racing back and forth for the solution to his predicament. It also emphasises the importance of this solution to him in his life as it is something he is thinking through with utmost care, implying that he is wracking his brains to get the right solution. Then the wind is “still” denoting that he came to a stop, stuck in a stand-still and rendered useless as he was “shaken out by tree and hill”. This implies that he was not able to conquer the hurdles that he faced and thus came to a stand-still, at a loss for what to do after this defeat.
He then moves “At the wind’s will” signifying how he is devoid of all hope, surrendering himself to his surroundings, going where the wind takes him. It can also be interpreted as Rossetti following his mind, going where his thoughts seem to lead him – a place of tranquillity to help rationalise his thoughts. The pause in “At the wind’s will, -” causes readers to stop for a moment and take some time to ponder upon the true meaning behind these words – he has become an empty shell, a puppet led by strings. It shows he no longer cares for this world, emphasising his forlorn state.
His engrossment in this predicament of his is emphasised by the absence of a hat on his head as he had “naked ears”, a rarity at the time. This signifies how immersed he was in his thoughts, failing to notice his rather scandalous appearance and mindlessly going out to search for a solution. The importance of the matter is also shown as he seems to be in a haphazard state, solving his predicament is his top priority.
This negative view of himself is further reinforced in the poem when; out of all the beautiful things surrounding him, his eyes find “some ten weeds to fix upon”. This illustrates his depressed state; he is not looking towards the sky in a positive light but towards the ground in despair, as though he has hit an all-time low where the only soothing companions with something similar to him are weeds. They are the only ones who won’t reject him, who can’t reject him. Among the weeds his chose to focus on the “Woodspurge” which “flowered” “out of the sun”. This implies that there was still some hope even in his depressed state as he Woodspurge is described to ‘flower’ in the dark where once there seemed to escape from. He has found hope.
The title of Hughes’s poem is “Pike”, a predator fish which gives the...