Horse

Our daughter Eleanor died on 21st April this year.

E:

“We were that age, Fiona and me, our bodies changing,

No longer girls and not yet women, staging

Scenarios of the future in our minds and conversation,

When horses were the ideal transport to the next station.

They were fully achieved bodies, even the smallest and ugliest

Engaged in movements huge to us yet able to tug best

At our hearts with a soft muzzle. You used to taxi us

To the riding school; if you delayed we became fractious

Because we had to be there hours early to muck out;

Returning home so smelly that mum threatened to chuck out

Us along with our jodpurs, if we didn’t demand work clothes

From the management. But she missed the point. We loathed

The complicated demands of social etiquette and chose to be united

With the working of these great bodies, the dung and sweat of mighty

Equus. Pastern, Fetlock, hock and hoof; loin and croup and withers.

To ride a galloping stallion was to smash your mind to smither-

-eens: the lift of the huge muscles, the surge, the barely controlled

Power. Yes, power. The jokers speak of sexual thrills, but we were bold

With animal power, free, happy and unstoppable; not arrogant

Since we knew the power was lent us by the horse. I can’t

Think of many later experiences to match that one. Once or twice,

While writing a thesis, I knew the literature had made me wise;

Or leading worship in a church, feeling myself uplifted, I understood

What the Bible meant by inspiration. Not some kind of divine blood

Transfusion but the gift of shared concern. Or at the Community Cafe

I’d had to take so many courses, gain certificates, all that faff eh?

Just to get it going, yet the impetus was the shared gusto

Of women working affectionately together: I could feel the muscles,

As here I do again. Your questions are discreet but if you were so coarse

As to ask me to define the resurrection, I’d say, Horse.

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