To Winter

Poetic Beats

Welcome to this week’s Poetic Beats with Howard Bond and Davy D, recorded on the 22nd of January 2018 on Red Kite Radio.

In this show we read and analyse William Blake’s poem, To Winter. Blake was a poet who was shunned by the establishment at the time, becoming the voice of the working class. His claims of being a mystic had him labelled as a madman. He died in poverty but left art and poetry that has gone on to inspire many people. One such was rock musician Patti Smith and we discuss how William Blake’s influence provided the foundation for many of her hits, including Because the Night.

If you have difficulty listening to the programme, a text version of the poem is included after the sound bar.

To hear this week’s Poetic Beats please press the arrow to the left of the sound bar below.



To Winter

O Winter! bar thine adamantine doors:

The north is thine; there hast thou built thy dark

Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs

Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car.


He hears me not, but o’er the yawning deep

Rides heavy; his storms are unchain’d, sheathed

In ribbed steel; I dare not lift mine eyes;

For he hath rear’d his scepter o’er the world.


Lo! now the direful monster, whose skin clings

To his strong bones, strides o’er the groaning rocks:

He withers all in silence, and in his hand

Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.


He takes his seat upon the cliffs, the mariner

Cries in vain. Poor little wretch! that deal’st

With storms; till heaven smiles, and the monster

Is driven yelling to his caves beneath Mount Hecla.


William Blake


This is my favourite so far, Blake & Smith !! I look forward to the music/poetry link as it’s something I tentatively looked at in an article on ‘Voices’.
Great show Davy.

Liked by 3 people

    Thank you for your kind comments and feedback Nigel. As Poetic Beats develops it seems a natural development. I will revisit your Voices article as it may help with the direction and research. Cheers again Nigel I do value your support.

    Liked by 1 person

Davy, this is just wonderful. The strong poem by Blake, your reading and subsequent discussion. I really am grateful I heard this as the link to the industrial revolution would have been missed…I think. It all becomes stronger and clearer when you know what inspired the poet.
The song by Smith is just perfect and wonderful. Thank you.

Liked by 2 people

    Thank you for your kind words Miriam. I never knew about the Industrial Revolution link until I started to research into Blake and the poetry. Once I made the connection the poem made a lot more sense. I appreciate your support with this Miriam and hope you are having a good weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

Another wonderful show Davy.

Liked by 2 people

so much I want to respond to this brilliant segment of Poetic Beats, feels like an email almost, I hope you will bear with me but this post really excites me. Firstly, poetry inspiring music, I always felt it was the other way round mostly but can see now how a poem and poet influences songwriters and artists and vice versa, an artist is always opening his/her soul to the rhythm of the universe and echoes back a magnificent response. We are privileged to be living in this era able to look back to the poets and artists who inspire the revolutionary new pieces of art we read, hear and see. William Blake, like the poets of his time had a conscience though many saw it as madness, and he himself called it mystical, it was to me courage to be heard for things people wanted swept into a tidy little corner. Did you know Blake inspired a whole book? Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed was inspired by the Nurse’s Song another poem from Songs of the Innocence Collection.
Your excellent dissection of this Blake poem led me to a story we all love and recall, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, he too an author unable to face the change that times brought during the war which shook up the entire world, self-imposed exile to a foreign land where he could write without censure and fear. I am amazed by these writers who take upon themselves the problems of the world and give us such insightful words.
I particularly love how you tell us about Blake’s earth, a feminine body being devoured and destroyed by harsh elements of winter and changing times that leave her desolate, such poetry in your description I went back to re read the poem and feel the sweeping coldness. I so enjoy Poetic Beats for the flavours you infuse in them. A very special only Davy can do recipe. The Patti Smith song is very recognisable and I have heard it played even by young people today, when something has an impact its vibrations are passed down the generations. Oh this has gone on too long, thank you for allowing me to blabber on!

Liked by 3 people

    Thank you for this Gina. I always love your responses as they take me deeper into what I am writing and doing. I never knew about the link between William Blake and Khalid Hosseini’s book so I will have to have a look at that one. This episode of Poetic Beats was a new direction and we will be doing some similar ones in later shows. So if you know of any other connections between poetry and music I would be only too glad to research them and bring them to the show. Many thanks for your support with Poetic Beats and I hope you are having a good weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

      I like the new direction and know what, it’s great that you mix things up a bit on the show. keeps me keen. oh Davy I read what i wrote and felt so self-important, thank you for allowing me the space, I have too many opinions i think! see another opinion, you are so very kind to the words that come running out of my head. lovely week ahead to you and looking forward to the next Poetic Beats! and if i remember a connection between music and poetry I will surely drop you a note.

      Liked by 1 person

      Please continue to share your thoughts Gina, it is what the blog and Poetic Beats is all about. It is these conversation that take us deeper into the poetry and writing. Have a great week yourself and thank you again for your support. It is deeply appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

    Wow Gina…i am very impressed…👍👍

    And of course Davy as always..lovely to hear you..

    Liked by 2 people

Love the poem and song pairing! And hearing you read is always a joy, Davy!

It’s interesting how some creative people’s talent/art is not fully appreciated until after they pass. 😦

I hope where ever he is, that somehow William Blake could know how many people he inspired and how many of us have had our lives enriched because of his words. And I hope it makes him nod and smile. 🙂

HUGS!!! 🙂

Liked by 3 people

    I agree totally with your words Carolyn and thank you for sharing them. I think it would please him to know nearly 200 years later the words he wrote were still inspiring artists of many genres. Hope you are having a good weekend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

You have outdone yourself with this show, Davy. Excellent!

Liked by 3 people

An impressive post, Davy. I do appreciate the background you present to your poems. I wasn’t really familiar with this particular poem of Blake’s. Certainly makes me wish to delve deeper into his work. I’m already a great fan of his artwork and engravings.

Liked by 1 person

So much richness, truth & sadness in this poem. Listening to you read a poem always brings more clarity & depth to it, for me. I also love hearing about the poet & his feelings behind the words. Love the connection with Patti Smith too. Thanks for sharing!

Liked by 1 person

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