Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry: Explained, THE DUSK OF HORSES, by JAMES DICKEY



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

THE DUSK OF HORSES, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"The Dusk of Horses" by James Dickey, published in 1961,  is a poem that explores the theme of mortality and the beauty of the natural world. The poem is based on the speaker's experience of watching horses at dusk, and the sense of awe and wonder that this experience inspires.

Poetic Elements:

Imagery: Dickey's language is rich in sensory detail, with vivid images of the natural world and the speaker's experience of watching the horses. For example, he describes "the grass / Whispering to itself," "the horses /... Breathing out of their open mouths," and "the sky, / Which is not dark, but deep blue-black."

Diction: Dickey's word choices are simple and direct, conveying a sense of clarity and immediacy in the poem's exploration of mortality and beauty. Words like "horse," "dusk," and "beauty" convey the poem's themes of awe and wonder.

Tone: The poem has a contemplative and introspective tone, as the speaker reflects on the beauty and transience of the natural world. The poem's imagery and language create a sense of awe and wonder in the face of mortality and the beauty of the horses.

Figurative language: Dickey uses several metaphors and symbols throughout the poem. For example, the horses are described as symbols of beauty and freedom, while the dusk is described as a symbol of the transience and impermanence of life.

Structure: Free verse poem that has no set meter or rhyme scheme, with irregular line lengths and no strict form. The lack of structure contributes to the poem's sense of spontaneity and immediacy, emphasizing the urgency and importance of the speaker's reflections on mortality and beauty.

In summary, "The Dusk of Horses" is a powerful reflection on the beauty and transience of the natural world, and the ways in which this beauty inspires awe and wonder in the face of mortality. The poem's rich imagery, simple language, and powerful metaphors make it a compelling exploration of the complexity and beauty of human experience.


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