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The Horses Analysis

By Nishaz Oct 20, 2010 883 Words
The Horses Analysis

This is a poem by Ted Hughes where he talks about a male observing a horse. The poem starts off with, ‘I climbed through woods in the hour-before-dawn dark’. This creates a setting of an early before sunrise, when the atmosphere is chilly, dark and gloomy. ‘Evil air, a frost-making stillness’. The ‘air’ is being personified suggesting that the atmosphere is cruel and unsafe. ‘Not a leaf, not a bird. A world cast in frost.’ The word ‘frost’ means the state of coldness sufficient to cause water to freeze. The repetition of the frost emphasizes the hardness and stillness that it shows no sign of living at all. Not even a leaf or birds are to be found. ‘A world cast in frost’, gives a very stunning image of a world decorated with ice crystals. ‘I came out above the wood where my breath left tortuous statues in the iron light.’ The first line shows that he climbed through the woods and now this line is telling that he is now above the wood. He is now looking at the scene from above so he can see it more clearly. ‘My breath left tortuous statues in the iron light’. This line is a metaphor showing that it was so cold that even his breath froze into a twisty, bendy statue. ‘But the valleys were draining the darkness till the moorline.’ This shows the process of the darkness being slowly removed. Blackening dregs of brightening grey – halved the sky ahead. This line shows an image of the sky being half dark and half bright. It shows the process of the sun becoming brighter and brighter killing off the evil darkness. It shows the contrast between the skies. And I saw the horses: huge in dense grey – ten together- megalith still.’ This line shows he saw the horses and the he paused to look at them. The horses were like a huge standing out show piece. The metaphor of ‘Megalith-still’ is showing that’s the horses were so still that they were like large stones. ‘They breathed making no move, with draped manes and tilted hind-hooves, making no sound.’ The repetition of ‘no’ in this line shows how surprised he was to see the horses in that state. The sign of them breathing could only tell that they were a living thing. I passed: not one snorted or jerked its head. Grey silent fragments of a grey silent world.’ This line illustrates the horses as being in sync with its surroundings. They were like little pieces of what makes up the world so they tend to synchronize with it. The repetition of ‘grey’ shows the darkness and the gloominess of the mood. ‘I listened in emptiness on the moor-ridged. The curlew’s tear turned its edge on the silence.’ These lines shows that there is little to be seen on the moor-ridge (a moor is open country, also it is still quite dark) and the only sound he can hear is the sob of the curlew. curlews sob only intermittently, and most often only from far away. Hughes suggests that this faint, melancholy, and distant sound actually makes the silence of the early morning seem more silent. ‘Slowly detailed leafed from the darkness,’ shows that the absurdness of the scenario is slowly becoming clearer and clearer. ‘Then the sun orange, red, red erupted.’ This line shows that once the sun is up light comes suddenly, but even so there is time to notice the sun's dominant shade turn from orange (as the disk first emerges) to red (when the disk is at half-show). The usage of red in this line is to emphasize the sun becoming more visible and its starting to become clearer. ‘Silently, and splitting to its core tore and flung cloud. Shook the gulf open, showed blue and the big planet is hanging.’ This line relates to how volcano would erupt. The sun seems to tear through the middle of the black night sky, almost as if it were un-wrapping the blue sky with clouds underneath. I turned stumbling in the fever of a dream down towards the dark woods, from the kindling tops, and came to the horses.’ This line is similar to the first paragraph because of the usage of dark and woods

There, still they stood, but now steaming and glistening under the flow of light.’ This line shows that he is surprised that the horses still haven’t moved at all. The horses are however very visible now because of the light. He realizes just how magical and mythical these creatures are. The light has made them strange in the way that a drug-hallucination of a religious vision is strange. ‘Their draped stone manes, their tilted hind-hooves stirring under a thaw while around them the frost showed its fires. But still they made no sound.’ This line shows how everything is starting to move but the emphasis of the no still shows that after a very long while, the horses are still not moving. ‘Their hung heads patient as the horizons high over the valleys, in the red raveling rays.’ The word ‘patient’ makes it seem like the horses are waiting for something

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