It Is amazing to see the slmllarltles between their poems “Ode to the West Wind” and “Life Will” despite the differences In times & cultures as well as the fact that Elshabby didn’t know any other language than Arabic was thus Indirectly influenced by the romantic school through his assoclatlon with Apollo school. Both Shelly, in his “Ode to the West Wind” and Elshabby, in his “Life Will” follow the tradition of romantic poets in recognizing nature as a rebellious force capable of making a change in our life. Shelly both admires and fears the changes nature’s rebellious forces can wreak.
Elshabby, however, is consumed by the hope that people will take their cue from nature and become so fully rebellious against oppression till they eliminate all sorts of oppression. Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind” expresses the hope that its words will inspire and influence those who read or hear it. Perhaps more than anything else, Shelley wanted his message of reform and revolution spread, and the wind becomes the trope for spreading the word of change through the poet-prophet figure. The poem allegorizes the role of the poet as the voice of change and revolution.
It discusses political change, revolution, and role of the poet. “Life Will” by Elshabby is one of the greatest revolutionary poems written in Arab’s world. It still lives till now as it had recently inspired the Arab Spring Revolutions, just as it had inspired revolution against colonization throughout the Arab world in the previous century, when it was written at 1933. The poet uses his verses to evoke people to revolt against and get rid of their oppressor, as If he wants his nation to roar at and eliminate them till there Is nothing left to oppress the people.
Sometimes, the poet feels as If his people are not as responsive to his outcry as he may wish, but he doesn’t lose hope. He Is consumed by hope believing his nation will revolt at last breaking the chains with a tremendous will that can’t be efeated. Both poems are similar In their classical structure & romantic content. “Ode to the West Wind” consists of five stanzas written In terza rlma. Each stanza consists of four tercets (ABA, BCB, CDC, DED) and a rhyming couplet (EE). The structure & rhyme confirm to classical tradltlon & resembles Dante’s “Dlvlne Comedy”.
The poem follows the romantic tradltlon of glvlng nature and Its elements life. It begins with three stanzas describing the wind’s effects upon earth, air, and ocean. The last two stanzas are Shelley direct monologue to the wind, asking for its ower, to lift him like a leaf, a cloud or a wave and make him its companion in its wanderings. He asks the wind to take his thoughts and spread them all over the Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? ” “Life Will” consists of six stanzas with a mono rhyme; for each verse ends with an (R). Also, the verses are divided into two halves according to classic Arabic poetry tradition.
The declamatory beginning of the poem is another feature of classic Arabic poetry. Then Elshabby introduces the elements of nature and their spirit as the speaker of the poem showing an indirect nfluence by Romanticism. “Almotaqareb” poetry “bahr” and the (R) mono rhyme lend a quick tempo to the poem absent from Shelly’s Ode. The poem is full of certainty shown in the word “AN” which means “must” and stressed by the last verse: 131 As opposed tothe uncertainty at the end of Shelly’s “Ode to the West Wind”: ‘If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
Though both poems give life to nature ; its elements, each expresses this romantic belief in a different manner. “Ode to the West Wind” personifies the west wind both as a “Destroyer” and a “Preserver”. It is seen as a great power of nature that destroys in order to create, that kills the unhealthy and the decaying to make way for the new and the fresh. In “Life Will”, Elshabby introduces the wind as a link between inspiration and revolution. It is likened to the revolutionary wind insides him. He stresses that people’s will to revolt is the real life that can change destiny and destroy the chains oppressing people.
Shelly’s Ode shows the effect of the Wild West Wind’ on land, sky & sea. The first few lines contain sinister elements, such as ‘leaves dead’. These leaves haunt as ‘ghosts’ fleeing from something that panics them. Other allusions to death are ‘chariotest’ and ‘corpse within its grave’. He contrasts the west wind to the ‘azure sister of the spring a reference to the east wind – whose ‘living hues and odours’ evoke a strong contrast to the colours of death. The sky’s ‘clouds’ are ‘like earth’s decaying leaves’.
They also are numerous in number like the dead leaves. Through this reference the landscape is recalled again. The ‘clouds’ are ‘Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean’. The ‘clouds’ can also be seen s ‘Angels of rain’, like messengers bringing change. Here, the west wind is two things at once: first he is ‘dirge/Of the dying year’; singing a funeral song about the year coming to an end and second he is “a prophet of tumult whose prediction is decisive”; a prophet who does not only bring ‘black rain, and fire, and hail’, but who Will burst’ it.
The ‘locks of the approaching storm’ are the messengers of this bursting: the ‘clouds’. Elshabby doesn’t describe scenery so much as recount what the elements of life advised him. The land speaks to him. She tells him she likes mbitious revolutionary people and curses dead people who want the status quo kept. The poet calls the land “mother” invoking an intimate relationship between them. He then declares what each element of nature advised; the wind roared among valleys, mountains and trees that achieving ambitions means discarding caution and expending the effort to reach the final goal.
He contrasts this with people who won’t try to climb up the mountains and thus live forever beneath their dreams. He talks about autumn, drinking wine, sea and seeds stressing revival and the cycle f nature and describing spring and its beauty. The turning-point in Shelly’s poem is the third stanza. Whereas Shelley had began by accepting the cycle of nature ; death which brings life back, he now turns to “wistful reminiscence as an alternative possibility of transcendence”.
He gives an image of nature ‘so sweet that one feels alludes to his fear of the revolution that would bring about change even while he is wishing for this change. Whereas the first three stanzas began with ‘O wild West Wind’ and ‘Thou… ‘ and were clearly directed to the wind, there is a change in the ourth stanza. The focus is no more on the Wind’, but on the speaker who says ‘If I ‘ Shelley wishes to identify himself with the wind, although he believes that were a he cannot do that: ‘Oh, lift me up as a wave, a leaf, a cloud’.
Because he suddenly remembers his inability as a human to soar, he fall upon the thorns of life’ and ‘bleed’. Elshabby also aligns himself with nature. First, he calls earth as ‘his mother’. Then he states that the wind and thunder of revolution live in his heart allowing him to listen to the music of rain as if showing him how nature moves and works all round him to encourage people to do the same; to move and work to revolt against oppression. He then asks darkness about hope, but it doesnt answer. It is the lyre that answers.
It says that winter brings death but the seeds hide under ground waiting for spring to come alive. There is another dialogue between destiny and elements of nature. Destiny asks when will hope come and spring comes to answer her with his revival of life. All through this stanza, darkness, winter and death stands for oppression while spring and seeds stand for hope of coming free. He ends the oem with a repetition of the first stanza stressing the idea that destiny must & will respond to those who has ambition for freedom & change.
Shelly ends his poem with a question: ‘If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?. This is of course a rhetorical question because spring does come after winter, but the “if” suggests that it might not come if the rebirth is not strong and extensive enough. Thus the question has a deeper meaning and does not only mean the change of seasons, but is a reference to death and rebirth as well. Shelly’s Ode is about the role of the poet as the agent of olitical and moral change.
In this, it resembles Elshabby’s poem which invoked the people to revolt against oppression. Both describe nature and its elements as alive, but where Shelly is both admiring and in owe of nature, Elshabby is more direct in invoking the power of nature and revoking caution and fear. Also, where Shelly wishes to have the power of the wind, even though he believes it is impossible, Elshabby aligns himself completely with nature and encourage others to follow his example as the only way they can attain “life will” which can achieve their dreams nd hopes.
Elshabby’s poem also evokes more hope & certainty of achieving this hope, ambition & bravery as well as disregard & rejection of caution & fear while achieving it in contrast to Shelly admiration & fear of change. I might be biased in my view that Elshabby’s “Life Will” is stronger and livelier than Shelly’s “Ode to the West Wind”, but in that I might be pardoned as Elshabby’s “Life Will” has been revived with the current Arab Spring giving us renewed hope for change and freedom and coming more alive in the process than Shelly’s ode can ever hope to be.
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