Pie and I went on a nice walking trail ride, accompanied by my husband, who was out on his daily walk. We went about 1 1/2 miles - it was a mite chilly (wind chills in the 30sF) but I think a good time was had by all. Then Pie and I worked on our four cones exercise in the arena, and even did a bit of work at the trot. Good Pie! Dawn is being neglected at the moment - in this windy cold weather she can be a little too much for this middle-aged lady. Speaking of age, I realized that if Pie makes it to 30, I'll be over 80 (if I make it that far)! - the second poem below made me think about that. I hope that he and I will get old together, riding all the way.
And Pie nickered to me this morning - first time - it probably just meant he was hungry but I'll take it just the same.
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I just encountered two wonderful poems from Maxine Kumin's book Where I Live: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010 that I wanted to share.
First, "Praise Be":
Eleven months, two weeks in the womb
and this one sticks a foreleg out
frail as a dowel quivering
in the unfamiliar air and then
the other leg, cocked at the knee
at first, then straightening
and here's the head, a big blind fish
thrashing inside its see-through sack
and for a moment the panting mare
desists, lies still as death.
I tear the caul, look into eyes
as innocent, as skittery
as minnows. Three heaves, the shoulders pass.
The hips emerge. Fluid as snakes
the hind legs trail out glistering.
The whole astonished filly, still
attached, draws breath and whinnies
a treble tremolo that leaps
in her mother who nickers a low-key response.
Let them prosper, the dams and their sucklings.
Let nothing inhibit their heedless growing.
Let them raise up on sturdy pasterns
and trot out in light summer rain
onto the long lazy unfenced fields
and then, a portion of "The Confindantes":
Dorothy Harbison, aetat [aged] 91,
stumps into the barn on her cane and my arm,
invites the filly to nuzzle her face,
her neck and shoulders, her snowdrift hair
and would very likely be standing there
still to be nibbled, never enough
for either of them, so sternly lovestruck
except an impatient middle-aged daughter
waits to carry her mother off.
In Camden, Maine the liveryman
at the end of town, a floridly grand
entrepreneur, sends for Dorothy
whenever he has a prospect at hand.
She is nine or ten. Given a knee
up she can ride any horse on the place.
If the deal goes through, a 50 cent piece
pops in her pocket, but Dorothy's pride
soars like a dirigible, its ropes untied.
It was all horses then, she says,
combing the filly's mane with her fingers,
soothing and kneading with practiced hands
from throatlatch to sensitve poll to withers.
All horses. Heavenly. You understand.
. . .
Leaving, Dorothy Harbison
speaks to the foal in a lilting croon:
I'll never wash again, I swear.
I'll keep the smell of you in my hair.
and stumps our fiercely young on her cane.