In which there is a lovely poem about a horse and a rider

A friend who rides endurance met up with me one afternoon last week, and said, "Oh I'm so glad to see you: I found a poem for you."

And oh, she was so right--this is a poem that I feel must have been written especially for me, even though it was written by an Irish-Alaskan woman and published by a Texan university press. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Riding out at Evening by Linda McCarrison

At dusk, everything blurs and softens.
From here, out over the long valley,
the fields and hills pull up
the first slight sheets of evening, as,
over the next hour,
heavier, darker ones will follow.

Quieted roads.
Predictable deer browsing in a neighbor’s field,
another’s herd of heifers,
the kitchen lights starting in many windows.
On horseback I take it all in,
neither visitor nor intruder,
but kin passing,
closer and closer to night,
its cold streams rising in the sugarbush and hollow.

Half aloud, I say to the horse, or myself, or whoever:
let fire not come to this house nor that barn,
nor lightning strike the cattle.
Let dogs not gain the gravid doe,
let the lights of the rooms convey what they seem to.

And who is to say it is useless or foolish
to ride out at evening in the falling light, alone,
wishing, or praying for particular good to particular beings
on one small road in a huge world?

The horse bears me along, like grace,
making me better than what I am,
and what I think or say or see is whole in these moments,
is neither small nor broken.
For up, out of the inscrutable earth have come
my body and the separate body of the mare:
flawed and aching and wronged.

Who then is better made to say
be well, be glad,
or who is better to long that we, as one,
might course over the entire valley,
over all valleys,
as a bird in a great embrace of flight,
who presses against her breast, in grief and tenderness,
the whole weeping body of the world?

Comments

  1. Horses do make us better than we are. :) I love it!

    WV: briandem. A Southern phrase encompassing Brian and his family, e.g. "How's Briandem?"

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