Horse In The Rain

Old horse, old woman, rain
Three year old granddaughter, rider
The rain is dreich. It falls steeply and wet
On a windless day, where the cold gnaws at your knuckles

The horse plods on, in the soft, churned mud
Like a driven missionary, carrying a message
Hoof after hoof, along the pilgrim path

How many times has he carried little souls upon his back
Gentle, accepting, generous spirited creature?

How many rainy days and frosty nights of time
Do we share in common, like broken bread gone stale?

He pauses a moment, the groom adjusts his straps
And I lean into his head, press cheek to jowel,
To feel his earthy warmth, his honest, horsey smell

His eyes look down, he suffers me to whisper
Into the soft flute of his ears
There is acceptance, but there's no response

The rain pelts on remorseless
Do you remember your foal-time,
Which hands have combed your mane
That you have loved?

You will never add to your equine bloodline now
And my last grandchild rests upon your back,

We are both out to pasture,
Apart from the occasional turn around the field
We have both endured the heavy halter of work
Enjoyed the bluebell chimes, the snowdrop Angel feathers

Month after month, you chewed the hay in your manger
Carried your burdens, bedded down each night
Now, we are old and slow, our galloping days are done
I nuzzle your nearness. I listen to your breath
We have outlived so many of our companions

Meanwhile, my granddaughter rides high
As a princess on some fabulous steed.
The rain hammers on
Like the wood foot pedals of an organ

I watched my brother's feet, in my calf-time
Tapping out notes with his toes, chords from his finger
No Pegasus of the keys, driven on by will, his own

Old horse, old woman, rain
Three year old granddaughter, rider
The rain is dreich. It falls steeply and wet
On a windless day, where the cold gnaws at your knuckles
Where the mist, like a scene from Dante, hides the future
Sunday, February 21, 2021
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