A poem, which is made up of a strong theme, is ‘The Horses’ by Edwin Muir. The poem is about the aftermath of an war where all technology and means of communication have failed the survivors. This makes everyone to resort to a far more old-fashioned and basic way of life. This is as a result of the appearance of the horses. The primary theme of this poem targets both failed and successful referrals to communication and technology.
Edwin Muir composed ‘The Horses’ after he previously survived both world wars, where he previously lost his family within a brief space of time. During the Second World Battle there is an atomic catastrophe in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which can be found in Japan, this brought the problem of nuclear war and development in to the public. Muir assumed that there would be another world warfare, which would cause the end of the world. The advancement in technology which helped make the atomic bomb possible almost certainly acquired a profound effect after Muir’s work and its own influence on the poem ‘The Horses’. The theme of communication and technology could have been very relevant issue at the time of the poems structure and one, which is still important in today’s society.
In Muir’s poem ‘The Horses’ he conveys the theme of communication through effective word choice. At the start of the poem man is referred to as having made a “covenant with silence”, the silence represents a lack of sound or noises which then demonstrates too little communication. The word covenant literally means an agreement, this means that man has made his contract to remain silent implying they will not go back to the pasts communication methods. This conveys the theme of communication, specifically the loss of communication, as man is silent and refusing to connect via technology of the old world that they carry accountable for the conflict.
The theme of communication is continued in the poem through Muir’s mention of the silent radios. Although these radios are silent, Muir makes a point of talking about them as “fired up” suggesting that however the radios are making no audio the speaker of the poem still feels anticipation that the failed communication these are experiencing will only be temporary. This conveys the theme of communication and technology, as although technology has failed they remain hopeful it will cause new communication.
Muir furthermore conveys the theme of communication within ‘The Horses’ as he uses the term “twelvemonth”, he has chosen to employ a word that comes with an archaic style and one we’d not used in modern day English. The earth “twelvemonth” is another way of experiencing a year and its own use suggests to us that the speaker of the poem would like to come back to a far more simple way of life; a means of life when this world could have been used commonly. This then strengthens the theme of communication as it shows to the reader that the loudspeaker has a desire to an old life-style and re-connect and communicate with the land and with God.
The imagery found in this poem helps to paint an extremely vivid picture of the poem and helps enforce our understanding of the poem’s central themes. The radios are described as being “dumb”. Muir uses personification here to highlight just how important and central technology has become in the speaker’s life, that the radios are believed almost real human. The inability in technology has led to a break down of communication as the radios have failed there is absolutely no communication. This conveys the theme of communication very, plainly once we see that there surely is too little technology which at this point results in too little communication.
Imagery in this poem not only conveys how the technology has hailed but also the way the speaker seems towards it. Machinery is detailed in dark terms, “The tractors lay about our fields; ay night/ they appear to be dank sea monsters couched and waiting. ” A simile is utilized here to compare the tractors to sea monsters. The tractor is the symbol of modern tools and with these details we can say this advises people are actually fearful of the technology, which has caused the battle and that it is alien to them. This can help to mention the theme of communication and technology well as we clearly understand from this that man experienced turned his back on modern tools and no much longer perceives it as an optimistic thing but rather as the foundation of these concerns.
The framework of ‘The Horses’ is type in identifying the main theme of communication and technology within the poem. The poem is written in blank free verse, this means it does not have any set rhyme or rhythm scheme. Also, it does no follow the traditional stanza framework instead reading as one lengthy text. Though it is not put into stanzas the poem can still be read in two parts. The first section targets the inability of technology, which evidently leads to a break down of communication. “We paid attention to our respiration” suggests that the presenter is surrounded by silence as there is absolutely no sound, indicating a loss of communication. The arriving of the horses signifies the second area of the poem;
“Late in the summertime the peculiar horses came. / We read the distant tapping on the street/ a deepening drumming; it quit continued again/ And at the corner changed to hollow thunder. “
The effective use of onomatopoeia here breaks the silence that was dominant throughout the first portion of the poem. The coming of the horses indicates a rebirth in communication but not one dependant upon technology but rather a return to a simple way of life.
The firmness of the poem clearly recognizes the theme of communication and technology in this poem. Similar to the framework of the poem, the build changes throughout. In the very beginning of the poem the tone is one of dread and horror as illustrated by mention of such phrases like “were scared” and “Dead bodies piled”. In contrast, the tone in the second area of the poem is more of exhilaration and alleviation. The Horses are described as “fabulous steeds” which implies that when the presenter first gazes upon them he confirms them awe inspiring because they are nor simply horses but steeds. This also suggest that hey are now at ease with the life they have and this the fear which exists in the opening piece of the poem in no more there. The build relates evidently to the theme of communication as the coming of the horses has established a new form of communication that will not be based upon technology. At the start the lack of communication and technology makes the presenter fearful but as a fresh from of communication is established through the approaching of the horses he locates contentment.
In bottom line, the central theme of communication and technology is plainly apparent in the techniques that the poet Muir has deployed. The terms used helps to convey the loss of communication and the rebirth that is brought by the approaching of the horses. The imagery used, particularly that which represents the technology, helps to paint a vivid picture in our minds. It is only when man converts his back again on modern technology a fresh communication is developed which is based on a simple way of living.
By Lorne McNiven