Friday, December 14, 2012

Paint Horse

I am the paint horse--
I have high-stepped through a thousand snakes,
mouths open like poisoned prairie flowers;

I have left their heads beneath my hooves,
a row of flat, dull silver dollars
staring at the endless open sky without seeing it.

You have called me,
whether you knew it or not.
You, beneath your buffalo blanket like the moon behind a cloud,
you have drawn me here.

With a circle around my eye,
and a hand print on my flank,
I feel the bones of all who came before us--
yours,
and mine--
beneath this dirt, these roots, this earth in all directions.

I am calling you,
you, the beautiful one I love.
You have pushed the bone shard through the flesh of your slender arm,
and not flinched.
Surely, every ghost will honor this.

I am the paint horse,
waiting;
you are the one I love.
We will not need reins, a saddle,
or anything but our bodies
together like cloud and storm,
across the plains.
________

for Hannaballistic's Transforming Friday challenge at Real Toads. She commands that we write about the prairie and its creatures.


21 comments:

hedgewitch said...

So many beautiful lines in this, Shay,and so many both tender and deadly images, with the sense of a love that is as much or more spirit than flesh. Once again I say, no one writes love poems like you do.

Susan said...

Beautiful. I am breathless.

Daryl said...

your love poems .. they are truly so intense so filled with images i read them over and over ...

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is beautiful. Wild horses seem to embody the will to just be and I love the idea that one would select its own rider, again through freedom to choose its own direction, its own form of commitment.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This is extremely beautiful and is one of my favorites of yours (and that is saying something, as all of your work is so remarkable and original). The horse is so beautiful, and I love the lines about those who came before......and the earth "in all directions". The last stanza just flies up and wings its way around the ceiling. So glorious.

TexWisGirl said...

all sorts of powerful, ancient imagery in this!

Sioux said...

This was a gorgeous poem, Shay. It made me think of the movie "Hidalgo." Have you seen it? The "scenery" is breathtaking...and the landscapes are, too. (I would imagine that Viggo Mortensen might even make a gay woman pant, but perhaps not, but perhaps he's only my type.)

Kim Nelson said...

...together like cloud and storm... Striking combination in its power and its simplicity. Love is woven throughout this piece, Shay.

Hannah said...

Shay! Oh my...this is truly a salve to my soul...this severe-intense-loving connection...oh this is it, this is how it should truly be for us all...our relationships.

I just love this peering back through history...the earth and blood of this the bone and musicality...I love every single word, Shay.

Thank you for writing. <3

Cloudia said...

Perhaps the loveliest of all

Kay L. Davies said...

The thought of the wild horse choosing his own rider is beyond poignant, Shay. It feels right, somehow.
K

Mama Zen said...

Every line, every word of this is magnificent. You are amazing!

Margaret said...

I feel the bones of all who came before us--
yours,
and mine--
beneath this dirt,

So wild and free this poem! Truly majestic and grand - fitting for such a magnificent animal.

Isadora Gruye said...

You have pushed the bone shard through the flesh of your slender arm,
and not flinched.
Surely, every ghost will honor this.


I know, I know, it's cheating to mimic back lines, but I must leave these here, as when I read then I stood and applauded.

Let's see: what I also love about this piece is the tone of the painted horse. It's loving and oddly sensual in a fused bone and spirit sort of way. I guess tender would be what I am trying to say. And tender poems go bad quicker than the greek yogurt I bought on clearance, but this....ah Shay you shouldn't have done so good. The poem ninjas are now watching and plotting.


Be well, my friend! Sorry to be absent so long. I have been saddled with impossible work tasks. Viva la

Emma Major said...

wow, I readthepoem before I saw the pictures and it drew beautiful pictures in my mind. and then to see those horses, how amazing.

myheartslovesongs.com said...

"We will not need reins, a saddle,
or anything but our bodies
together like cloud and storm,
across the plains."

that's real love.

Margaret said...

LOVE the Ted Hughes quote on your sidebar!

Shawna said...

I love this: "mouths open like poisoned prairie flowers"

And all of Stanza 2.

In the third, the verbs don't feel right because they are different tenses: "have called" and "knew." I would lean toward, "You called me, whether you knew it or not," "You've called me, whether you've known it or not," or even "You have called me, whether you know it or not." But whatever you think; you know what will work best.

I love this: "You, beneath your buffalo blanket like the moon behind a cloud, you have drawn me here."

Then you get very kinky here:
"With a circle around my eye,
and a hand print on my flank,
I feel the bones of all who came before us" ... Please don't tell me that this is just a horse, like the last animal was "just a bear." ;) I think you're talking about being in a painful relationship that doesn't work, one that is maybe abusive or dysfunctional, but one that you can't let go of. You're remembering/suffering through the truth that there were other lovers before the two of you were together. Or maybe this "post fight" appearance is just a representation that the two of you have disagreed, argued, or parted ways. The dirt represents all that is in the past, the past that is still very much a part of who you both are. This relationship will bury you both, and yet you can't escape.

Stanza 5 is amazing. She's trying to destroy herself, trying not to feel pain and doing a pretty good job at it. Perhaps you are saying she is turning herself into a ghost and that all others like her will clap at her success. But you're just hurting and trying to use a bit of sarcasm to get under her skin.

In the end, you're crying out for her to come back to you, to realize that your relationship doesn't have to follow any traditional rules or be confined by restraints or even reality. A paint horse, here, is a work of art, something surreal, abstract, something that defies reality and three-dimensional living. You're asking her to come into your painting and to ride you bareback as thunder rides lightning.

"Across the plains" is a reference to the blandness of life, all that is plain next to the magic inside this piece of artwork in which you live.

Helen said...

Perfection .........

Fireblossom said...

Thank you, Helen. It's just a love poem for my girl.

Ella said...

I love the energy and the conquer it all feel :D

so many wonderful ways to interpret this one...amazing!