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Jim Hogg Male, 59, United Kingdom (1/29/2014 5:46:00 AM)

Edwin Muir and his wife Willa first brought Kafka to english readers. He later rued spending so much of his life" turning German into English" . But he was much more than just a translator: he was also a substantial poet and critic. As a reply The Horses, a well known Muir piece that foreshadowed the " return to nature" movement.

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  • Jim Hogg Rookie - 1st Stage (1/29/2014 5:47:00 AM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    Barely a twelvemonth after
    The seven days war that put the world to sleep,
    Late in the evening the strange horses came.
    By then we had made our covenant with silence,
    But in the first few days it was so still
    We listened to our breathing and were afraid.
    On the second day
    The radios failed; we turned the knobs; no answer.
    On the third day a warship passed us, heading north,
    Dead bodies piled on the deck. On the sixth day
    A plane plunged over us into the sea. Thereafter
    Nothing. The radios dumb;
    And still they stand in corners of our kitchens,
    And stand, perhaps, turned on, in a million rooms
    All over the world. But now if they should speak,
    If on a sudden they should speak again,
    If on the stroke of noon a voice should speak,
    We would not listen, we would not let it bring
    That old bad world that swallowed its children quick
    At one great gulp. We would not have it again.
    Sometimes we think of the nations lying asleep,
    Curled blindly in impenetrable sorrow,
    And then the thought confounds us with its strangeness.
    The tractors lie about our fields; at evening
    They look like dank sea-monsters couched and waiting.
    We leave them where they are and let them rust:
    'They'll molder away and be like other loam.'
    We make our oxen drag our rusty plows,
    Long laid aside. We have gone back
    Far past our fathers' land.
    And then, that evening
    Late in the summer the strange horses came.
    We heard a distant tapping on the road,
    A deepening drumming; it stopped, went on again
    And at the corner changed to hollow thunder.
    We saw the heads
    Like a wild wave charging and were afraid.
    We had sold our horses in our fathers' time
    To buy new tractors. Now they were strange to us
    As fabulous steeds set on an ancient shield.
    Or illustrations in a book of knights.
    We did not dare go near them. Yet they waited,
    Stubborn and shy, as if they had been sent
    By an old command to find our whereabouts
    And that long-lost archaic companionship.
    In the first moment we had never a thought
    That they were creatures to be owned and used.
    Among them were some half a dozen colts
    Dropped in some wilderness of the broken world,
    Yet new as if they had come from their own Eden.
    Since then they have pulled our plows and borne our loads
    But that free servitude still can pierce our hearts.
    Our life is changed; their coming our beginning.

    Edwin Muir

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    • Jim Hogg Rookie - 1st Stage (1/29/2014 11:15:00 AM) Post reply

      Hi g. Yes, wouldn't it be a fine thing if we could get back to civilly sharing poetry and our views on it in this forum.... I don't think there's a traceable connection between them. Muir is a very co ... more

    • Bull Hawking Rookie - 1st Stage (1/29/2014 9:43:00 AM) Post reply

      What a wonderful and pleasant vision contained in this excellent poem, Jim. A great return to the intended use of forum. I could not help wondering if he was related to John Muir who became the father ... more

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