Two poems by Jane Commane

Seven Horse Secrets

The horse’s heart is a grand mansion of piston-firing chambers.

A horse sees a world blurred in the two-tone flourish of the photo finish.

Look into the amber planet of a horse’s eye and a refracted universe forms there.

Horses turn the turf of an ever-moving, never-quite-touched earth beneath their hooves.

Horses laugh at our expense; lips peeled, ivory-gravestone teeth bared, domino pieces as yet unplaced.

Horses are melancholic humourists; they know of the pending darkness beyond the five-bar gate, beyond the green paddock. Hancock learned all he knew from horses.

Horses tramp the ancient treadmill of our whims, trot to our biding, broken, bought and sold, but only ever possess themselves.
Odds On

Where do the racehorses sleep?
Red Rum, Dawn Run and Arkle
sleep now, the broken neck,
Aintree grave, front-page obit.

Himself, Ireland, no longer
a twice-a-day Guinness-drinker
but a museum curio, steeplechaser
skeleton strung out in a glass stable.

Time and form. The Liffey awash
with good tidings, tigers sighted
out near Connemara. A Japanese
4×4 and a racehorse in every drive.

Going good-to-firm. New estates
finicking up on the hills in a rash
of prosperity. The money-men
talk a good sport, their pockets empty.

Who pays when the rains come?
The going’s none so good, the
economy shot and bolted,
the abattoir the only game in town.

Where do the racehorses sleep?
Red Rum, Dawn Run and Arkle
long gone under the sod. Mass graves
for the trophy ponies. Sleep now.
Jane Commane is a poet and writing tutor, and editor at Nine Arches Press. She also co-edits Under the Radar magazine and has run a variety of writing workshops, everywhere from castles and museums to allotment gardens and riverbanks. Her work has been published in Anon, The Warwick Review, Tears in the Fence and The Morning Star and anthologised in The Best British Poetry 2011 (Salt) and Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam (Cinnamon Press). Born in Coventry, she lives and works in Warwickshire.