Horse Whisperer Read the poem Once upon a time, before you and I were born or even thought of, people didn’t have cars. Instead they used horses. Horses could be hard to tame, and so people employed horse whisperers to tame them. Horse Whisperers could charge a lot of money for their services because they wouldn’t tell anyone their secrets of how to tame horses. They whispered to horses so nobody could hear them and steal their trade from them… Stanza One Past tense They = the farmers They shouted for me when their horses snorted, when restless hooves traced circles in the earth and shimmering muscles refused the plough. My secret was a spongy tissue, pulled bloody from the mouth of a just-born foal, scented with rosemary, cinnamon, a charm to draw the tender giants to my hands. Stanza Two Gives the sense of panicking horses and some detail about the art of horse whispering Repeats the opening line from the first stanza – similar stanzas They shouted for me when their horses reared at the burning straw and eyes revolved in stately heads. I would pull a frog’s wishbone, Tainted by meat, from a pouch, A new fear to fight the fear of fire, so I could lead the horses, like helpless children, to safety. Stanza Three The Horse Whisperer’s talents were in need until the arrival of the tractor – he then goes into exile I swore I would protect this legacy of whispers but the tractor came over the fields like a warning. I was the life-blood no longer. From pulpits I was scorned as demon and witch. Pitchforks drove me from villages and farms. The arrival of the tractor makes the Whisperer’s skills seem dangerous and superstitious nonsense: he is denounced in churches as a witch/demon Stanza Four Leaves the countryside who used to need him, he feels resentful My gifts were tools of revenge. A foul hex above a stable door so a trusted stallion could be ridden no more. Then I joined the stampede, with others of my kind, to countries far from our trade. The Whisperer takes his revenge on the community who no longer needs him and puts a curse above the stable door so the horses behave badly. Stanza Five Present tense Still I miss them. Shire, Clydesdale, Suffolk. The searing breath, glistening veins, steady tread and the pride, most of all the pride. The narrator pays tribute to the horses he used to tame The poem ends with a strong sense of nostalgia for the past and pride in himself shown through the repetition of the word ‘pride’ A few questions… • How are the horses presented in the poem? (find words that show this) • The farmers shout yet the Whisperer is in harmony with them • How is the art of Horse Whispering presented? (find the words that show this) • What do you notice about the stanzas? Why did Forster write this poem? • A lament for the past • A celebration of horses – a huge sense of regret in their decline following the arrival of other transportation • To show the lost world of mystery and magic • A reflection of the loss created by technological progress hi miss!!!!