Winter: My Secret is part of the Rossetti collection studied for A-Level with OCR, so I taught it earlier this week. It’s a gorgeous poem that really rewards further detailed reading. On a first read through, it’s fairly straightforward – a woman who has a secret but refuses to tell it. But looking more closely, the playful, teasing tone starts to suggest that there is something more – what could the secret be? Is there a secret at all?
Although there’s plenty of options for interpretation, tome it speaks of a woman trying to hold onto something of her mystery – she’s bundled up against the cold, and the prying of the unseen listener, and is determined to hold something of herself back. She’s not cold or challenging, but confident in her own character. She doesn’t need to reveal too much – she’ll be as close or as distant to someone as she likes.
The download has a stanza-by-stanza analysis, along with a range of critical and theoretical interpretations.