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Horses - by Jim Harrison
In truth I am puzzled most in life
by nine horses.
I’ve been watching them for eleven weeks
in a pasture near Melrose.
Two are on one side of the fence and seven
on the other side.
They stare at one another from the same places
hours and hours each day.
This is another unanswerable question
to haunt us with the ordinary.
They have to be talking to one another
in a language without a voice.
Maybe they are speaking the wordless talk of lovers,
sullen, melancholy, jubilant.
Linguists say that language comes after music
and we sang nonsense syllables
before we invented a rational speech
to order our days.
We live far out in the country where I hear
creature voices night and day.
Like us they are talking about their lives
on this brief visit to earth.
In truth each day is a universe in which
we are tangled in the light of stars.
Stop a moment. Think about these horses
in their sweet-smelling silence.
Wolf and Woman
by NIKITA GILL
Some days I am more wolf than woman and I am still learning how to stop apologizing for my wild.
There is a girl inside.
She is randy as a wolf.
She will not walk away and leave these bones to an old woman.
She is a green tree in a forest of kindling.
She is a greeen girl in a used poet.
She has waited patient as a nun for the second coming,
when she can break through gray hairs into blossom
and her lovers will harvest honey and thyme
and the woods will be wild with the damn wonder of it.
After Work by Jane Hirshfield
I stop the car along the pasture edge,
gather up bags of corncobs from the back,
and get out.
Two whistles, one for each,
and familiar sounds draw close in darkness—
cadence of hoof on hardened bottomland,
twinned blowing of air through nostrils curious, flared.
They come deepened and muscular movements
conjured out of sleep: each small noise and scent
heavy with earth, simple beyond communion,
beyond the stretched-out hand from which they calmly
take corncobs, pulling away as I hold
until the mid-points snap.
They are careful of my fingers,
offering that animal-knowledge,
the respect which is due to strangers;
and in the night, their mares' eyes shine, reflecting stars,
the entire, outer light of the world here.
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