Rhapsody on a Windy Night

Rhapsody on a Windy Night Summary

Rhapsody on a Windy Night” twists the romantic expectation of poetry to create a despairing view of modern life. The poem is set in a city during a period from midnight to four in the morning. A solitary speaker walks down the street. Under a magical spell cast by the time of night, the moon, and the rhythm of light produced by street lamps, he finds his perceptions and his memory shaken and reconfigured into a jumbled new form. The street lamps come to life and direct the gaze of the speaker, illuminating and narrating images of the life of the city. They point out a woman, a cat, and a child, all of whom move with grotesque automation. As he sees the twisted distortions of his perceptions, the speaker remembers encounters with other twisted objects and creatures. The street lamp directs him to regard the moon, who is figured as an old sick woman who has lost her memory and relationships. When the speaker finally arrives home, a streetlamp continues to direct him on how to conduct his monotonous evening routine to prepare for life the next day. In a final striking image, sleep is represented as a grim reaper, leading him cruelly towards death.