English Writing 300
February 8, 2012
The poem “The Centaur”, written by May Swenson allows readers the opportunity to see through the eyes of a young girl as her imagination brings a hand crafted piece of wood to life; transforming it into a majestic stallion. As she lets her imagination flourish throughout her experience the reader sees how the girl and stallion become one. Swenson’s careful choice of words contain abundant elements of language, imagery, and structure throughout the poem which is what opens the girls experience up to the reader so well. The light tone and the mood in which the work is written brings the girls memory and recollection of her experience to life very well.
The poem begins with the speaker remembering a long summer season where she was 10 years old. “Can it be there was only one/ summer that I was ten? It must/ have been a long one then” (lines 2-3). These lines show the reader that the speaker has a lot of memories about this summer since she can recall so much from when she was 10. The opening lines contain a bit of rhythmic flow which makes the entrance quite natural and gentle. These lines alone clarify that the point of view comes from a young girl trying to collect her thoughts and memories of that summer.
The author illustrates the magical, adventurous, and liberating moments the girl experienced which brings about a blissful tone throughout the entire piece. The girls’ flashback of this particular horse ride reveals to the reader not only her enjoyment of the ride itself but the pure bliss that she experienced by being one with her creation, a bliss which no regular person could feel or understand; the bliss of being a centaur. While on her horse ride the little girl has nothing else on her mind other than what lies in front of the dusty path that she is trotting on. “I’d straddle and canter him fast/ up the grass bank to the path, / trot along in the lovely dust/ that...