Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Horse Poetry--Memories of Warm Autumn Rides

In preparation for the upcoming Horsewomen's Poetry Anthology, I'm dusting off my daily poems from last year--at least, the ones that relate to horses.  My poetry blog is BitsOfPoetry.com and last year I really pushed myself to write more.  Now, I'm thankful I did.  I read this poem last night and was instantly transported to that day--that ride--better than a picture would have sufficed.

It was October and we'd had an unusually dry summer/fall.  Our pasture had died out and wouldn't come back--which is unusual for us.  We can usually count on some late rains to keep it muddling along until the first freeze.  The drought forced us to feed early.  It was really quite sad--the horses had pounded the dry ground to must--which sounds better than dust--which is what it really was.  I remember feeling guilty at relishing in the dry, sunny days and the opportunity for more fall rides.

This particular ride was started at a friend's home.  He's in his 80's and still riding horses.  His wife was a tough, wonderful woman who started and ran our non-profit organization, Palisades Park.  She died about a year and a half ago, but until her last day she was out riding her horse through our park, chasing down motorized violators, and fighting developers to preserve it.

We pulled our trailers into his apple orchard where his many trees were heavy with unpicked fruit.  I don't know if I could ever capture in words how delightful it was to pick one of those juicy, ripe apples and feed it to Cowboy--his lips brushing against my palm.  


You should have wished for rain,
But you relished the sun, instead,
And the sweet smell of orchard grass,
In the pinto’s October sweat.
Before you left,
You stood under the bow,
And plucked an apple,
Ripe with the full bloom
Of a long summer.
You held it outstretched
Until all that was left
Was juice, and the salt
From the palm of your open hand.

You should have wished for rain,
But you relished the sun, instead,
And his slow steps down steep trails,
Adrift of dirt and loose chunks of basalt.
The robin and wren, tree swallows and chickadees,
Flitted among branches of Ponderosa, Serviceberry,
and the Hawthorn with its dangerous nails,
While you thought of nothing but that,
And how your horse’s mane felt in your hands.

4 comments:

  1. That's incredible, Linda. It reminds me of the poetry of an old friend, Bill Cowee. He wrote with all of his senses. I'll go check out your poetry blog. I haven't read poetry in years, but you just rekindled my interest.

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    1. I purchased your book, Homespun and Woven, a few years ago--poetry!--you should consider contributing something to this anthology. Also, if you have suggestions for my poems, I would love to hear them. The rule for my poetry blog is write something everyday--shape later.

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  2. I particularly like the lines about juice and salt on the open palm. Perfect!

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    1. Annette, I've read some of your poems through the years, too--lovely. I hope you also consider contributing. Kimberly Verhines is putting it together and right now it's in the planning phase.

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Please feel welcome to join our discussion--tell us about your own thoughts and experiences.