Then in one of the oddest moments in the poem, the mother asks her final question, wanting to know why the girl's mouth is green. The way "The Centaur" is written, allows one to visualize and almost touch her memory.In this essay, he describes May Swenson's exploration of imagination in "The Centaur," suggesting that it reflects her beliefs about poetic creativity. This is the voice of authority, of the established order, trying to bring a wayward child back into line. As Houghton Mifflin continues the vital mission of keeping Swenson in print, I hope the editors will consider sharing important information like this with her readers. She writes that the lines about the girl using her brother's jackknife "suggest a sly performance of the charade of masculinity," adding that "the girl in Swenson's poem crosses and confuses discrete categories of sexual identity. She was not an angry protester; she was rather a celebrant of life's mysteries, exploring and stimulating. There is no closing reminiscence, seeking to bring out a contrast between the adult of today and the child of the past; the nostalgia theme simply disappears. The success of the book led to poetry readings, and at one of these readings, Swenson was introduced as the poet who wrote about being a horse, obviously a reference to "The Centaur. Note the chugging of short "u's" in tub, jug, pump, rump, hung. Finally, it is worth noting that the name the girl gives to the horse is Rob Roy, a common name for a horse, but also the name of an eighteenth-century Scottish hero and outlaw.
A reader who stopped at the end of this stanza—and the stanza break does encourage such a stop—might think the speaker was wealthy, with a stable full of real horses to choose from. She shares many characteristics that a horse possesses.
Lake is our bathtub, dish-sink, drinking jug, and since the boat's head doesn't work, —the ice box, either—the bilge pump barely lake is water closet, too. Hollander writes that Swenson's poems are "systematically ad hoc," adding that there is "no classifying term for [the] organizing principle" of her poetry; she puts her poems together, he states, according to personal principles.
She writes that the lines about the girl using her brother's jackknife "suggest a sly performance of the charade of masculinity," adding that "the girl in Swenson's poem crosses and confuses discrete categories of sexual identity.
For a novel about an adventurous child, readers might enjoy The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, published in Poems to Solve, published inwas Swenson's first collection of riddle poems. In any case, the ten-year-old girl so loses herself in her fantasy that she seems a long way from the house she eventually returns to, with its linoleum and its sink, a perfectly normal house where a mother stands ready to call her daughter back from the magical land she has gone to.