by David Morley
I will wake up in a world that hooves have led to — Les Murray
Some horses are caves; you catch
that by the way they flicker and shy
at shadow. You can walk inside horses
and sense their walls trembling around you.
Camargues are air-delvers, the pile-driver
we’re gripping on our reins, chiselling
granite miles. We caught their backs like luck
then held on. Camargues are not cave,
but they passed through like wraiths
slamming silently through the walls.
Thug-faced, hog-necked, anvil-hoofed
Camargues—necking the paint’s hay
on cave walls of Niaux and Lascaux;
cantering behind the wasted warriors
of Rome, Persia and Greece. We rode
them here—or they rode us, chests thumped
out like wagons heaving our wagons;
warmed to our genius grandfathers
because they whispered to them
in horse and only in horse.
We should as well cremate ourselves
alongside our Camargues, riding them
through heaven’s walls, hoofed pyres
to our Saints Mary Jacobe and Mary Salome.
We might have fired our horses
on our deaths as we fired our houses;
burnt ourselves upon the deaths
of our horses since we were their houses.
All horses are spells, but Camargues
are myth. You catch that on horseback.
(from Enchantment Carcanet 2010)
Under the granite capstone
horses plash in mud,
dredge puddled water.
Blown here by hurricane rumours,
they kiss each other’s necks
nibble, nudge, bare teeth
passing each other’s shoulders:
eyes roll, ears prick.
The wind has tattered their manes.
In the sour, spiked grass
hard platforms of cobbled dung.
They have sheltered here for centuries
since long before the storm
that brought the dolmen
to its knees and broke one leg.
Its roof is lower now,
the horses backs are bare.
Once there were riders;
once they were ridden there.
(published in IMPress magazine and in The Listening Walk, Bath Poetry Cafe’s anthology)
Elinor Brooks is a founder member of BlueGate Poets. More of her work can be read here
by Nikki Magennis
A stallion on the hill,
calligraphy against the green
page of the field.
Suddenly I understood the sleek, inky
poem of a horse, the lines bowed
as if resisting flight.
Nikki Magennis is a writer and artist from Scotland. Her first pamphlet is forthcoming from Red Squirrel Press in 2014
by E.E. Nobbs
The woman schooling him requests a trot
and next suggests he go the “long and low”
for her; he down-extends his neck, his head
for her; his frame relaxed and freely moving,
a way to stretch his back and strengthen it
and they’re both loving it, the gentle bridle,
the carrots, her hips, legs, hands, coaxing voice,
his size; the beauty when they work together.
Apart, I watch. Later ask her to explain —
the management of contact; loosening
to provide an “independent seat” required
to give the other space to grow; I ache
like someone whose daughter’s just left home;
or perhaps I’ve got that backward.
E.E. Nobbs won the 2nd Annual International Doire Press Poetry Chapbook Competition (2013). Her collection, The Invisible Girl, is available here
All the King’s Horses
i.m Emily Davison
by Angela Readman
The closest I ever came to taming anything wild
was that hour before supper my daughter was half
horse, half girl, grazing on the sight every chore I did.
There are hours when shadows flicker like foals
in my kitchen and I see her, still a child playing horses
all day, with no idea of women, men, or kings.
She cantered into rooms, a rear of arms kicking air,
a gallop from combs at her mane, a wet flannel licked her
face and she grabbed a wooden spoon, whacked
her flanks with a hoof, never fast enough for herself.
I stood at the stove at sunset as she wore herself
back into almost a girl, nuzzling against an aproned leg,
so briefly mine, my palm on the flock of her hair
a bridle of love holding on by a cottered thread.
Angela Readman’s poetry has won The Mslexia Poetry Competition, The Essex Poetry Prize and Ragged Raven. She also writes stories.