Horses on the Camargue ‘Horses on the Camargue’ is written by Roy Campbell who was a South African poet and was said to be one of the best poets of the period between the first and Second World War. In this poem we are given large amounts of vivid imagery which shall be discussed in the following analysis. The first thing that strikes me as I start to read the poem is the fact that it lacks structure, it is only made up of one stanza, due to this the poem is continuous and very flowing which is further emphasised by the run on lines all throughout the poem.
The rhyme scheme also enhances the consistent rhythm of the horses galloping along the sand. This poem contains many contrasting description which help to bring out many images and feelings that the poet would like to evoke. The poet uses the word “harmony” to describe the sound of the “hooves” and also the motion as they gallop along the beach in unison. There is also alliteration which emphasises the aural imagery; we can hear a soft sound which is linked to the meaning of harmony. This is quite ironic since the sounds emitted by the hooves are rather harsh and not at all soft.
The poet creates a visual image when he likens the white horses to the horses that pulled “Neptune’s” chariots. The phrase “silver runaways” shows us that the horses are free, wild and shiny as if they were silver. The horses are given human characteristics by using the personification “sons of the mistral”, they are seen as the offspring of the wind. “Shod” is an onomatopoeic word that is linked with the sound of thunder and galloping, the sound shakes the earth, they are also very swift like thunder.
The alliteration of the letter ‘f’ in “far-off fragrance” creates a soft and mellow sound. As we read on we find another alliteration of the letter ‘f’ in “fury foaming”, this also creates an aural image which is however quite ironic since it is in contrast to the meaning. The word foam links to the sea as it creates a tactile image, foam is also white which links to the horses’ hair. We see the reference to foam once again in the last few lines where it is referred to as “snow”. “cataracting mane” is also a tactile image and metaphor.
The poet is comparing the horse’s mane to a water fall, both because of its texture and the way it flows down the horse’s back. The word thunder is used twice in this poem and in the second case it is linked to the sea and refers to its rumbling noise. The alliteration in the phrase “great gusts” creates strong, forceful sounds just like the horses. The horses are further compared to “driven ghosts” in the next verses. They are determined and free to round around in any way they want. They are also described to have “arching necks which shows that they are still elegant even though they are wild.