This week’s Featured Poem has been chosen by Anna Fleming, Young People’s Project Worker for Get Into Reading Liverpool, who has shared some Emily Bronte with some of the young people she reads with – and now, with us too.
As the nights were drawing in before Christmas I read the poem The Night is Darkening Round Me with several of the young people I read with. We loved it as a really atmospheric poem – the descriptions of the dark, wild weather are both exciting and menacing:
I enjoyed reading this poem and feeling the contrast between the wild descriptions and the forceful, insistent repetition: “I cannot go.”
There are so many possibilities to explore from this poem. The different ideas we had about where the person is were interesting and quite contentious! I imagine they are standing outside and unable to go home. A 12year old girl disagreed, saying she thought the person was stuck at home, safe, but unable to go where she needs to. A 14 year old lad suggested:
“it’s a ghost – they don’t feel the weather – but something means they’re stuck haunting that place.”
We tried to work out why the person might be unable to move: are they scared? Are they lost? Do they just love that spot? It conveys a very peculiar but particular state of mind, which is difficult to define and explain.
As well as exploring many possible stories behind the poem, some young people also recognised their own more strange experiences. A girl told me:
“thats like me, maybe something happened or they saw something then focussed on it and zoned out from everything else around.”
The Night Is Darkening Round Me
The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me,
And I cannot, cannot go.
The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow;
The storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.
Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me:
I will not, cannot go.