Thursday, October 01, 2009

Deeper grasses to ford

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Old Horses
For Nicole & Laurie

Her letter says it will happen before month’s end.
It is September and summer burns itself into autumn
here in the north hemisphere of Southern California.
He is getting old and the arthritis doesn’t allow riding
any longer, she writes. I look up and out my window.
Old horses arrive to funnel and chute in this way.

We find our place for some stabled years and someone
inadvertently leaves a gate open and we tumble out.
Greener pastures, fertile valleys, places where skies
blaze not cloudy all day. There are cold night rides
when ice and wind meet every clop and furied manes
tear razors from stropped heavens. We do this in spite
of such things, ride out to meet makers and breakers
of days and seas and high passes that find us blackened
by backlight in silhouette cutouts that run the ridge
all the way across and back and back home again.

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We might pass shrines devoted to safe passage, Marys and
Christs boxed and nailed to treetrunks, their arms crossed
in perennial prayer never saying a word as we track heavy
and hooved into darkness like spent candles and superstition.
How many times did I ride with you from the other
side of such worlds, the two of you saddled by my
breaking mornings as your twilights led time to its
halter, day after day’s end? I’ve since lost count.

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Yes, there are deeper grasses to ford as all old horses
know this. We come clanging to the penrail for carrots
and apples, a handful of sugarcube to lip into and past
the steel bit we allowed for so long because it brought
us into togethering. So the tack will hang limp from a
bare hook in the riding house, die reiten haus, as you
might say in Swiss or some language unforeign to my
ear as when you made vows while trailing through the
dew-veiled spider’s webs on one of many blissful mornings
they lay open that way as if a thousand stars had fallen
to lie that way just for you to turn rings among, to sense
and gather their deeper meanings, to marry your days
together against all the ones to come without us.

Joseph Gallo
September 3, 2009


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3 Comments:

Blogger Joseph Gallo parried...

A proud Australian stallion, then a singular gelding, he was her companion for many years in Switzerland. Laurie's real name was Within Bounds.

I began this poem early last month and finished it yesterday. I sense it has come to pass, his being put down, so I wish to dedicate and honor both of them.

My deepest condolences to you, Nicole. He will live in your heart forever. As you will mine.

:'-(

October 01, 2009 4:51 PM  
Blogger Ofira Sephiroth parried...

Congratulations, you've been awarded the One Lovely Blog Award. Visit my latest post to pick up your award.

October 08, 2009 10:36 AM  
Blogger Joseph Gallo parried...

Wow! Ofira---you rock.
Thank you.

I am honored to be chosen among your excellent choices.

I shall accept later this week as I am currently on the road.

Until then, please accept my humble gratitude. :-)

October 08, 2009 2:44 PM  

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