How Does Edwin Muir Portray Childhood In Horses?
At face value, Horses is a poem about Edwin Muir and it’s a nostalgic view on the distant memory of how he felt about the horses as a child compared to now. The way Muir describes the horses is in awe-struck tone, but this varies as at times he seems to be quite fearful of the horses as he looks back in a child-like state of mind. One of the major themes of the poem is how as a child he saw the horses as powerful, which isn’t how he views them
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As a child Muir saw the horses as having ‘seraphim of gold’, he also describes them as bringing the ‘rapture’, and carrying out their ‘ritual’. The use of the word ‘ritual’ implies that they have a routine and it’s expected of them, which brings us back to how they are normal horses, however it also gives us the image of a religious ritual that must be carried out and usually rituals are done for others, so the horses are doing things for the people and how Muir saw the horses in a godly form, doing the job for others as God would do. There are many biblical references in the description of the horses from Muir as a child’s point of view, so I feel that Muir is trying to show the reader how the innocence of a child can make something as simple and plain as horses ploughing a field god-like even though horses don’t feel anything like that.
Muir also portrays childhood as a state of mind which one should love and cherish, as in the last stanza Muir states that he must ‘pine’ for that feeling again. The use of the word ‘pine’ shows that he must long for it, and the use of the mono-syllabic and direct word ‘must’ shows that he has no other choice than to ‘pine’ for the child like state of mine he no longer possesses, as it makes