Patchwork Horse

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To celebrate the Chinese Year of the Horse, a composite horse made up of quotations from poets born in the Year of the Horse:


I’m dreadf’lly concerned for Matilda,
Who seems to believe she’s a horse,
a stuffed pink leather horse with button eyes -
the old mare nosing lunchpails
Arched under the singing mane,
Shaped to her shining, pricked into awareness.

I closed the French window,
and thought of the horses in their stalls with one hoof
tilted, watching the ropes of rain. I lay in bed -
Suddenly, horses are there on the hillside,
standing by their shadows to feed.

Their hung heads patient as the horizons,
High over valleys in the red levelling rays.

From a horse’s white rump,
the colours turn in a kaleidoscope,
the horse's heads,
this time, drooping, dipping, until
they slept in a circle around my body and my daughter.


Sources:
John Betjeman, ‘Winthrop Mackworth Redivivus’ (lines 1-2)
Marilyn Hacker, ‘Paragraphs from a Day Book’ (line 3)
Gary Snyder, ‘Hay for the Horses’ (line 4)
Vernon Watkins, ‘The Foal’ (lines 5-6)
Derek Walcott, ‘Omeros’ (lines 7-9)
David Harsent, ‘Mr. Punch’ (lines 10-11)
Ted Hughes, ‘The Horses’ (lines 12-13)
Elaine Feinstein, ‘Isaac Babel Riding with Budyonny’ (lines 14-15)
Sharon Olds, ‘May 1968’ (lines 16-18)

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