The stark simplicity of the
dual carriageway brings a particularly unsentimental, matter-of-fact quality to the ideas of the poem. The direction of the fog,
west, links with the notion of a conclusion to life. Just as dawn and the beginning of a new day is announced with the sun emerging from the east, the end of the day is marked by it slipping down in the west.
This linear journey of the fog, then, represents the inexorable march of time towards death. In Tithonus, Aurora’s
day begins in the east and, as time moves on, she moves west. In Winter, the road is symbolic of the journey of life.
The poem’s final image, of the
grey dead pane/of ice that sees nothing and that nothing sees is poignant. The ice could be the frozen pond which, in darkness, is still and empty as the skaters no longer race across its surface. The ice then represents the barrier,a kind of tangible membrane that separates the living and the dead. Death is likened to a perpetual state of frozen animation devoid of any consciousness.
Towards the end of the poem the setting moves away from the pond to the comparative warmth and security of the speaker’s home, where he continues his mediation on death. However, he is unsuccessful confessing that,
even in my room/and on my paper I do not know/about the grey dead pane/of ice.
Morgan was skilled at presenting life in poetic terms. Death, however, is something no poet, no matter how eloquent, can describe– all words are mere speculation. The repetition of
"nothing" emphasises the fundamental, cold reality of death- everything ends.