Edwin Muir

Edwin Muir’s poem The Horses describes an apocalyptic disaster of worldwide proportions taking almost every life there is but with a hopeful ending.

From the beginning Muir has biblical reference opening his poem with ‘barely a twelvemonth after’ which can be seen as referring to Jesus and the twelve apostles who transformed the world. Jesus according to the bible has been sent by God to better the world while God himself created the world within seven days, the second line of Muir’s poem ‘the seven day war that put the world to sleep’ referring that the entire world has been destroyed in the same time frame it was built. The only difference is that mankind brought upon the destruction on itself without any godlike doing.

The destruction happened worldwide with very few survivors putting the entire world to sleep blanketing their entire world into silence. Silence the survivors were not used to as mentioned by Muir   ‘it was so still we listened to our breathing and were afraid’. The first few days were still experienced with noise coming out of radios that suddenly fell still, knobs were turned but no answer indicating that the connection to the outer world to other countries has failed. In Muir’s view the connection to the ’old bad world that swallowed its children quick’ has been lost. Restoration of this connection first is suggested ‘if on a sudden they should speak again’ but then completely destroyed not to enter the old bad world again.

Disaster has struck the world to a point where the survivors turn away from the machines to connect to their Fathers world being more connected to nature again signifying hope to better the world from the current situation. Muir describes this vividly ‘ the tractors lie about our fields.......we leave them where they are and let them rust’.

Hope comes in the form of the Horses that one summer evening coming from ‘their own Eden’. Muir’s horses appear in a very dramatic and signifying way   ‘a deepening drumming; it...