Horses by Edwin Muir

Watch this presentation and work in pairs.


Those lumbering horses in the steady plough,
On the bare field – I wonder, why, just now,
They seemed terrible, so wild and strange,
Like magic power on the stony grange.

Perhaps some childish hour has come again,
When I watched fearful, through the blackening rain,
Their hooves like pistons in an ancient mill
Move up and down, yet seem as standing still.

Their conquering hooves which trod the stubble down
Were ritual that turned the field to brown,
And their great hulks were seraphims of gold,
Or mute ecstatic monsters on the mould.

And oh the rapture, when, one furrow done,
They marched broad-breasted to the sinking sun!
The light flowed off their bossy sides in flakes;
The furrows rolled behind like struggling snakes.

But when at dusk with steaming nostrils home
They came, they seemed gigantic in the gloam,
And warm and glowing with mysterious fire
That lit their smouldering bodies in the mire.

Their eyes as brilliant and as wide as night
Gleamed with a cruel apocalyptic light,
Their manes the leaping ire of the wind
Lifted with rage invisible and blind.

Ah, now it fades! It fades! And I must pine
Again for the dread country crystalline,
Where the blank field and the still-standing tree
Were bright and fearful presences to me.

Do you think it is a correct analysis of the poem? Is there anything you can add?

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7 Responses to Horses by Edwin Muir

  1. Lucia Roggero and Mara Ripoll says:

    Mara and Lucia stanza 3

    Their conquering hooves which trod the stubble down
    Were ritual that turned the field to brown,
    And their great hulks were seraphims of gold,
    Or mute ecstatic monsters on the mould.

    Hooves: The foot of such an animal, especially a horse.

    Trod: To walk on, over, or along.

    Stubble: The short, stiff stalks of grain or hay remaining on a field after harvesting.

    Hulks: A heavy, unwieldy ship.

    Ecstatic :showing or feeling great enthusiasm.

  2. Luz Garcia Fernandez and Jose Catani. says:

    We had to do stanza 1.
    Lumbering: The business or trade of cutting, transporting, preparing, or selling timber
    Plough: An agricultural implement with sharp blades, attached to a horse, tractor, etc, for cutting or turning over the earth.
    Stony Grange: Of or resembling stone

  3. Joaquin Venini and Tomas Anania says:

    Stanza 5

    Glowing: entusiasta
    Lit: past simple of ´light´
    smoulder: to burn slowly something but without flames
    mire: fango
    dusk: the time before night when it is not yet dark
    steaming: producing steam
    nostril: either of the two openings in the nose through which air moves when you breathe

  4. Delfina Miy Uranga and Lucila Giambruni says:

    Stanza 7

    Fades: to ( cause to) lose colour, brightness, or strength gradually

    Pine: To become increasingly thin and weak because of unhappiness, especially after the death of a loved person

    Fearful:frightened or worried about something

    Crystalline: transparent

  5. Nico Monguzzi & Tomas Borda says:

    Stanza 2

    Blakening: to become black or to make something become black.
    Hooves: the hard part on the bottom of the feet of animals such as horses, sheep, and deer.
    Piston: a short, solid piece of metal that moves up and down inside a cylinder in an engine to press the fuel into a small space and to send the power produced by it to the wheels

  6. Pancho Mosquera y Florencia Araya says:

    Stanza 4

    Rapture: extreme pleasure and happiness or excitement.
    Furrow: a long line or hollow that is formed or cut into the surface of something.
    Flake: small, flat pieces of soap used for washing clothes, especially by hand.

  7. Luna Perez Muñiz, Estanislao Casas and Catalina Rela says:

    STANZA 6
    manes: the shade of a dead person.
    leap(ing): to jump suddenly from one place to another.
    rage: intense anger; fury

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