The War Horse Eavan Boland (Poem becomes more interesting when poet uses…
The War Horse Eavan Boland
Poem was inspired by an incident which occurred in the suburban estate in which the poet lived.
Image & sound combine to draw the reader into the poem.
It was an icy winter & the poet herself said that "the sounds of death from the television were heard almost widely" as the news of the Northern Ireland troubles was broadcast.
Boland questions the uncertainty towards war.
The poem is based on a traveller's horse that escaped from their camp on the Enniscorthy road.
Onomatopoeia enables the reader to hear the "clip, clop, casual iron of his shoes", "his breath hissing, his snuffling head"
The horse is regarded as a threatening, destructive presence "as he stamps death".
When Boland surveys the damage done after the horse has passed her home, she is relieved to see that no great harm is done.
The poet is an observer, "I lift the window to watch"
A detailed description of the horses leg , "ambling feather of hock and fetlock" belies its capacity for violence.
Poem becomes more interesting when poet uses language & imagery of war to describe the damage done by the wandering horse.
Torn leaf described as a "maimed limb".
Destroyed rose is "a mere line of defence"
The connection between damaged plants & human victims of violence is very clear when she describes a crocus as being "blown from growth"
The attitude of neighbours towards horse reflects the mentality of people towards war where they literally hide behind curtains.
They are unwilling to confront the violence happening in the North.
"neighbours use the subterfuge of curtains"
The poem ends with the poet feeling a connection with her ancestors, who faced threatening violent situations in earlier times.
"and for a second only my blood is still"
"recalling days of burned countryside"