by Thomas Hardy
You know that Cat Stevens song "The Wind"? The first lines are "I listen to the wind / to the wind of my soul." Well, good ol' Cat is expressing the same thing that the speaker of the "The Voice" is. Both men are listening (or trying to listen to) the wind of their souls. And in the case of our speaker, the wind of his soul may or may not be the literal wind that he hears outside of him, which may or may not be the literal voice of his dead wife. Okay, we admit it, the wind of "The Voice" is a bit more complicated than Cat Stevens's wind. (But you should definitely check out the song anyway!)
- Line 1: In the first line of the poem, we have no reason to believe that the woman's voice is actually the voice of the wind. Until…
- Line 5: The speaker begins to doubt if he's hearing the woman's voice after all.
- Line 8: The woman's "air-blue gown" is described suspiciously airily, as if the woman were somehow always of the wind.
- Lines 9-12: The speaker asks straightforwardly if he's hearing the voice of the woman or the voice of the wind. Or could he be hearing both?
- Lines 13-16: At the end of the poem, the speaker seems to be reluctant to answer our questions. He reports hearing both "the wind oozing" and "the woman calling." Does this mean he's lost his mind? That ghosts are real? That the wind really is the wind of his soul? We hate to break it to you, but it's up to you.