Continuum & The Woodspurge

The last two poems that we read were: “The Woodspurge” and “Continuum”. And while reading the last one in class, we found that it had some similarities to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s poem.

  • Both poems have similar tones: tormented, disturbed, gloomy, lonely, frustrated, conflicted, unclear; and in the end it turns into peaceful.
  • Both poems have themes in common: Man & Nature, Religion, nature and its power to inspire.
  • Both poems make reference to the passing of time: “The Woodspurge” – “My naked ears heard the day pass.” & “Continuum” – “A long moment stretches, the next one is not on time.”.
  • Both poems make reference to religion. In “The Woodspurge” because the voice is inspired by the cup of three which symbolises the Holy Trinity and that he felt connected to God; and in “Continuum”, in the 7° stanza the writer finally achieves creation, and God created the universe the 7° day.
  • Both poems deal with the topic of surrealism and reality. In “The Woodspurge” becuase his mind was lost and the flower brought him back to reality; and in “Continuum” in the quote that says “Not unaccountably the chill of the planking underfoot rises in the throat”, the fact that he starts feeling cold makes him come back to reality.

“The Rain Horse” – Quotations

As to make a deeper analysis of “The Rain Horse”, our techer, Pato, asked us to look up some quotations about important events in the text and try to understand better the story.

I wroked with Rochi and this is our work:

  1. Man, collar up in driving rain on hillside. Nature is dominant and man is not significant here – bored and frustrated:

“Holding his collar close and tucking his chin down into it”

  1. First view of “thin, black horse”. Use the similes of ill-omen:

“Over to his right a thin, black horse was running across the ploughlands towards the hill, its head down, neck stretched out. It seemed to be running on its toes like a cat, like a dog up to no good.”

  1. Man finds shelter through “barricade of brambles” and the ground sucking at his feet:

“In blinding rain he lunged through the barricade of brambles at the wood’s edge.”

  1. Second view of Horse -“watching him”:

“At the wood top, with the silvered grey light coming in behind it, the black horse was standing under the oaks, its head high and alert, its ears picked, watching him.”

  1. Horse attack – detail in description:

“…when the ground shook and he heard the crash of a heavy body coming down the wood. Like lightning his legs bounded him upright and about face. The horse was almost on top of him, its head stretching forward, ears flattened and his lips lifted back from the long yellow teeth.

  1. Horse: “tall as a statue” watching him. NB his state of mind:

“Out in the middle of the first field, tall as a statue, and a ghostly silver in the under-cloud light, stood the horse, watching the wood.”

  1. Horse attack with onomatopoeia:

“Its whinnying snort and the spattering whack of hooves seemed to be actually inside his head”

  1. Finds stones as weapons. Note comparison with eggs:

“He picked two stones about the size of goose eggs”

  1. Horse attack 3, man fights back. Note PF in passage:

“He let out a tearing roar and threw the stone in his right hand. The result was instantaneous. Whether at the roar or the stone the horse reared as if against a wall and shied to the left.

  1. Horse attack and hit with stones under “superior guidance”:

“With another roar he jumped forward and hurled his other stone. His aim seemed to be under superior guidance.”

  1. Horse cat-like pain response –domesticity. Man becomes dominant again:

“He felt a little surprise of pity to see it shaking its head, and once it paused to lower its head and paw over its ear with its forehoof as a cat does.”

  1. Closing image – man in barn. Ashamed and in pain.  Other images?:

“There was a solid pain in his chest, like a spike of bone stabbing, that made him wonder if he had strained his heart on that last stupid burdened run. Piece by piece he began to take off his clothes, wringing the grey water out of them, but soon he stopped that and just sat staring at the ground, as if some important part had been cut out of his brain”