Analysis of a Horses by Edwin Muir Essay

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Analysis of a poem- Horses by Edwin Muir It is said that one should forget the past and live in the present

It is said that one should forget the past and live in the present.
However, Edwin Muir’s ‘Horses’ is a poem of past memories only. The interesting part is that it deals with many conflicts and issues which are prevalent even today. It is thus a bridge between the past and present and is expressed in the form of a piece of literature. Muir himself said that in writing about horses in this poem, he was reflecting his childhood view of his father’s plough horses, which must have seemed huge, powerful and mysterious to a boy of four or five. Some of his poems, including ‘Horses’, have a close equivalent in passages from
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Under the “great hulks” of these creatures he sees is however another truth. The way these symbols of “power” trod, allows the reader to infer another thought. Muir talks about the “ritual” of trodding hooves turning the field beneath to brown. This can relate to the nuclear tests taking place, the desire for power and how it would destroy the earth just as the horses’ trodding was literally destroying the earth underneath. The line, “Gleamed with a cruel apocalyptic light,” has an even greater significance when he talks as if an apocalyptic war has taken place and the world has come to an end. In Muir’s time, this could obviously refer to the World War or perhaps a civil war and maybe future wars as well. The manner in which the poet expresses great anguish at the fact that this anger and blind hatred has left nothing in its wake, throws light on where the world is headed.

The third verse also suggests subjugation of the powerful and privileged over the Underprivileged. The “conquering hooves” show the might of the powerful class who dominate the suppressed and force them into subservience. Muir is depicting the power struggle and hegemony that will always be prevalent in the world despite opposing views of
Charles Edward Markham. The latter, states in his poem, ‘Man with the
Hoe’, after the “Silence of centuries”, how the oppressed took back their power
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