Beyond Blossoms, For James Wright
If you were here now I too would
speak of horses encountered on a
hill in the south of France, Monthaut,
its ruined church without knees,
sun low over foothills of the Pyrenees -
From shadowed trees downhill
at least 20 of them run to me.
I feel them before they appear,
hooves tearing dirt and grass
in their manic ascent up the
steep arriving like excited
birds, haunches quivering,
damp from late-summer heat.
Their soft noses push my hands,
their chests pure press
hard against barbed wire.
They offer themselves to me,
their long necks extend
heads dipping shyly,
not without some blood -
I think of you now as I did then,
remembering our bellowing lungs
in rich shared air, odors entwined
of earth, mane, those sweet
grasses, and the binding brier
where they stamped, trembling.
Not poetry here,
how it all breaks open
blindly between doldrums,
dark hammock refusing
to be swayed on a bad day.
Something is here you already
know but if there is forgetting on
the other side of the fence
I remind you now.
My hands caress
echoing equine graces.
In their eyes I can see
in that way of all breezes
finally where you went.
Here is Wright's poem, 'A Blessing':
Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more, they begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
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