“Discuss how Muir and Fell respond to the issue of nuclear war in their poems”.
In their respective poems, nuclear war is a theme that is never fully addressed directly by either poet. Both Muir and Fell use a combination of imagery relating to the natural world in order to present nuclear war in a way that suggests to the reader that it not only effects those fighting in it, but those around it.
Alison Fell writes her poem in a retrospective style because she was just 1 when World War II ended and couldn’t possibly have known what nuclear warfare was like from personal experience. In contrast, Muir’s perspective of nuclear warfare is written entirely written in first person, repeating “We” throughout the poem. This suggests a togetherness that was a general atmosphere during World War II in The Horses that Fell’s poem doesn’t have.
Fell’s poem focuses more on the aspect of visual and metaphorical imagery with examples being the repetition in the final couplet of “ladybirds”. This image is powerful because it reflects the description used in the entire poem and is a combination of the colours that Fell mentions including “apricot… black ash… scarlet” all these colours combine to cover the issue of nuclear war in a way that reflects the natural world. Similarly, Muir does this in his poem; but he does this in a different way. He tends to use religious imagery to explain the meaning behind nuclear war; this is most likely because he grew up in a Presbyterian religion where the values of earth were close to their beliefs. The religious imagery in Muir’s poem is used to symbolise nuclear war as a form of punishment from God. Fell’s poem gives a description of what nuclear warfare is, whereas The Horses looks in to the cause of nuclear warfare and references the past.
Despite the fact that Muir lived throughout the both the first and second world wars, his poem is written on a potential future world nuclear war but using his knowledge from previous wars....