tore and flung cloud

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mesterhm

Member
Hungarian
This is from Ted Hughes's poem, "The Horses". You can read it here:
http://www.ouce.ox.ac.uk/~rwashing/research/twos/poems.html

I'm interested in one line really. What is the subject of the third one here:

"Slowly detail leafed from the darkness. Then the sun
Orange, red, red erupted.

Silently, and splitting to its core tore and flung cloud,
Shook the gulf open, showed blue,

And the big planets hanging --"

In my copy, which is the Faber "Selected Poems 1957--81", there is a full stop after "red erupted" (unlike in the above link). Normally, one should trust the book of course. But there may be two readings of the sentence. Is it "the sun" or "cloud"? Is it "red erupted" or "eruped silently"?
Thanks.
 
  • gasman

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    I think it just a way to describe how the sun's colour changed as it rose, and the other features became visible.
     

    mesterhm

    Member
    Hungarian
    With the predicative structure (pattern, whatever) inverted?
    That was my reading as well, thanks, rippledj -- see if others agree?
    Could someone check in another edition of Hughes poems maybe? :)
     

    Starfrown

    Senior Member
    English - US
    In my opinion, the sun is still the subject;"splitting to its core," it "shook the gulf open" and revealed "the big planets hanging in the sky."

    I don't see how it could be the cloud, since it is the direct object of "tore and flung."
     

    mesterhm

    Member
    Hungarian
    The proof for this would be if it turned out that the full stop is a misprint in my edition. In that case, this would be the only logical reading.
    Thanks, Sarfrown.
     

    Starfrown

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I will say cautiously that I believe it to be a misprint. I have just checked the Wadsworth Anthology of Poetry, published in 2005, and there is no stop after "erupted."

    Still, poets do funny things with punctuation, so you never really know what to expect.
     
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