'Storm on the Island' - Key Quotations

"The wizened earth had never troubled us"

CONTEXT:

The speaker discusses their relationship with the earth.

THEMES:

Nature; Harmony

LANGUAGE:

Noun phrase/personification = "wizened earth" conveys that, to the speaker, the earth is like a wise, elderly man, full of knowledge and causing no problems.

"...Nor are there trees

Which might prove company..."

CONTEXT:

The speaker continues to describe nature in a positive manner.

THEMES:

Nature; Harmony

LANGUAGE:

Noun = "company" suggests an ally, a friend, or neighbour. The line implies that nature could act in these roles.

"...you know what I mean..."

CONTEXT:

An aside from the speaker.

THEMES:

Informality; Conversational

LANGUAGE/STRUCTURE:

Tone = this line is very colloquial and relaxed, making the poem seem more personal and conversational.

"Can raise a chorus in a gale"

CONTEXT:

The speaker continues to positively describe nature.

THEMES:

Nature; Harmony

LANGUAGE:

Personification = the speaker suggests that the weather, specifically through strong winds, are nature's way of singing.

"So that you can listen to the thing you fear

Forgetting that it pummels your house too."

CONTEXT:

The tone begins to change slightly as the speaker begins to use more aggressive language.

THEMES:

Violence; Fear; Nature

LANGUAGE:

Powerful verb = "pummels" shows the aggression and violence that nature can have over people.

Direct address = the speaker talks directly to the audience through "you", once again making the poem seem intimate and personal. This is even more interesting when considering this line makes reference to what "you fear", which strengthens this intimacy even further.

"Exploding comfortably down on the cliffs"

CONTEXT:

The speaker once again works to create intimacy with the audience.

THEMES:

Fear; Security

LANGUAGE:

Oxymoron = "exploding comfortably" combines the violence and destruction of an explosion with comfort and safety, suggesting that you feel more relaxed if the danger is far away - "down on the cliffs".

"spits like a tame cat"

CONTEXT:

The speaker plays down the scariness of nature and the weather.

THEMES:

Nature

LANGUAGE:

Simile = the aggressive and sometimes destructive quality of nature is compared to the spitting of a cat, something incredibly familiar and non-threatening. This takes away the fear associated with the weather, suggesting that the fear is only down to perspective.

"...We just sit tight while the wind dives

And strafes invisibly. Space is a salvo.

We are bombarded by the empty air.

Strange, it is a huge nothing that we fear."

CONTEXT:

The final section of the poem, in which the speaker describes the weather using military terms.

THEMES:

Violence; Fear; Nature; Harmony

LANGUAGE/STRUCTURE:

Metaphor = military metaphors are used here: "strafes", "salvo", "bombarded", "air", "dives" all relate to an air attack, suggesting that these attacks, along with those from nature, are only scary if we allow them to be.

Oxymoron = the speaker notes how strange it is that we fear a "huge nothing", implying that there is nothing truly to fear. This could also be considered a paradox, in that the "nothing" may be exactly the thing that frightens us.