The poem, " Storm Warnings", by Adrienne Rich has a double meaning. At first glance it describes a house about to be hit by a storm. Further examination reveals that the house is a metaphor for a person, and the storm representative of the emotional battles we all face in life. The title of the poem also has a double meaning. It is the indication of bad weather, but it also symbolic of trouble coming to the heart and soul.
In the first stanza, Rich describes an incoming storm. The first line speaks of the falling of the barometric pressure, a sure sign of a storm front. The, " gray unrest moving across the land," are the storm clouds. She describes the trees straining in the wind. Looking past the surface images, we can see the description of the fall of the barometer as a symbol of that little place inside us that indicates trouble is coming. There is trouble brewing inside the narrator, a kind of metal unrest, which like the storm front, has been building all day.
The second stanza changes the focus from a description of what is to come to its origins. The narrator talks of the storm coming from another land by way of invisible air currents. Weather comes regardless of forecasts. IT is in the last 3 lines of this stanza that the underlying meaning of the poem is really brought forward. " Weather in the heart", suggests that the poem describes an inner turmoil. When a person sits alone, regardless of all prediction, hurt can come to the heart and soul. There is no way around it, and there is no way to predict or control it.
Regardless of knowing ahead of time, we cannot alter what is coming. This is the focus of the third stanza. A storm front cannot be overt anymore than the troubles of the soul. We cannot change the weather, only guard against its effects by closing the shutters on the windows. This represents the needs of the heart to protect itself against pain. The soul cannot avert heartache, only erect walls, barriers to guard against sorrow.
In the last stanza, the narrator prepares for the incoming storm. She says that those who live in places that often have bad weather know how to guard against and prepare for it. This implies that the narrator has dealt with this ordeal before, not just the physical storm, but the emotional one she senses coming. She is preparing herself for the storm inside in the same way she prepares the house. She lights the candles, symbols of light in the dark, of hope. " These are our sole defense against the seasons;" shows the depth of the narrator's understanding of what she is feeling. It indicates a strong sense of what is to come, and how best to cope with the trouble.
Through the use of imagery, metaphor, and personification, Rich gives the poem, " Storm Warnings", a deep emotional meaning. It touches an in core in the reader that brings out a feeling of trouble to come. It makes the reader feel the pressure building before the storm, and reminds them of their own emotional trials.