Archives for posts with tag: horse

by David Allan Evans

Sitting perfectly upright,
contented and pensive,
she holds in one hand,
loosely, the reins of summer:

the green of trees and bushes;
the blue of lake water;
the red of her jacket
and open collar; the brown
of her pinned-up hair,
and her horse, deep
in the yellow of sunflowers.

When she stops to rest,
summer rests.
When she decides to leave,
there goes summer
over the hill.
“Girl Riding Horse in Field of Sunflowers” appears in David Allan Evans’s collection This Water. These Rocks (San Francisco Bay Press, 2009), available at

Painting: “Sunflower Heaven” by Patty Stern, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Allan Evans is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including This Water. These Rocks (2009), The Bull Rider’s Advice: New and Selected Poems (2004), and the chapbook After the Swan Dive (2008). Evans has also published prose, including a memoir with his wife, Jan Evans, Double Happiness: Two Lives in China (1995). Evans is known as a sports poet, admitting in an interview his belief that “All poets are word athletes.” The poet laureate of South Dakota since 2002, Evans has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bush Artist Program, and the South Dakota Arts Council. Evans is a two-time Fulbright Scholar in China, and his work has been translated into Chinese by Zhang Ziqing. In 2009, Evans was awarded the South Dakota Governor’s Award for Distinction in Creative Achievement.

by Meghan O’Rourke

Inventing a horse is not easy.
One must not only think of the horse.
One must dig fence posts around him.
One must include a place where horses like to live;

or do when they live with humans like you.
Slowly, you must walk him in the cold;
feed him bran mash, apples;
accustom him to the harness;

holding in mind even when you are tired
harnesses and tack cloths and saddle oil
to keep the saddle clean as a face in the sun;
one must imagine teaching him to run

among the knuckles of tree roots,
not to be skittish at first sight of timber wolves,
and not to grow thin in the city,
where at some point you will have to live;

and one must imagine the absence of money.
Most of all, though: the living weight,
the sound of his feet on the needles,
and, since he is heavy, and real,

and sometimes tired after a run
down the river with a light whip at his side,
one must imagine love
in the mind that does not know love,

an animal mind, a love that does not depend
on your image of it,
your understanding of it;
indifferent to all that it lacks:

a muzzle and two black eyes
looking the day away, a field empty
of everything but witchgrass, fluent trees,
and some piles of hay.
“Inventing a Horse” appears in Meghan O’Rourke’s collection Halflife (W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 2007), available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Poet, essayist, and memoirist Meghan O’Rourke was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1976.  She is a graduate of Yale University and holds an MFA in writing from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina.  From 2005-2010 O’Rourke was poetry co-editor for the Paris Review, and in 2000 she was a fiction editor for the New Yorker.  Since 2001 she has been a contributing writer for the online magazine Slate. O’Rourke’s books of poetry include Halflife, which was a finalist for Britain’s Forward First Book Prize, and most recently Once.  She is also the author of the memoir The Long Goodbye, a chronicle of mourning written after the death of her mother.  She lives in Brooklyn, New York. (SOURCE:

IMAGE: “”Uma Horse” by Nomad Art and Design, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at

by Joel Nelson

I have run on middle fingernail through Eolithic morning,
I have thundered down the coach road with the Revolution’s warning.
I have carried countless errant knights who never found the grail.
I have strained before the caissons I have moved the nation’s mail.

I’ve made knights of lowly tribesmen and kings from ranks of peons
I have given pride and arrogance to riding men for eons.
I have grazed among the lodges and the tepees and the yurts.
I have felt the sting of driving whips, lashes, spurs and quirts.

I am roguish – I am flighty – I am inbred – I am lowly.
I’m a nightmare – I am wild – I am the horse.
I am gallant and exalted – I am stately – I am noble.
I’m impressive – I am grand – I am the horse.

I have suffered gross indignities from users and from winners,
I have felt the hand of kindness from the losers and the sinners.
I have given for the cruel hand and given for the kind.
Heaved a sigh at Appomattox when surrender had been signed.

I can be as tough as hardened steel – as fragile as a flower.
I know not my endurance and I know not my own power.
I have died with heart exploded ’neath the cheering in the stands –
Calmly stood beneath the hanging noose of vigilante bands.

I have traveled under conqueror and underneath the beaten.
I have never chosen sides – I am the horse.
The world is but a player’s stage – my roles have numbered many.
Under blue or under gray – I am the horse.

So I’ll run on middle fingernail until the curtain closes,
And I will win your triple crowns and I will wear your roses.
Toward you who took my freedom I’ve no malice or remorse.
I’ll endure – This Is My Year – I am the Horse!
“Equus Caballus” appears in Joel Nelson’s collection Cowboy Poetry: The Reunion (Gibbs Smith, 2004)

Illustration: “Year of the Horse, 2014” by dragontw, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joel Nelson is highly respected in the world of cowboy poetry and recitation. He has appeared in many major cowboy poetry festivals, including the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, which he co-founded. A Vietnam veteran and former custom saddle maker, Nelson is also a horse trainer. His CD The Breaker in the Pen (2000) was nominated for a Grammy Award. Nelson received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2009, and was also poet-in-residence at Rothbury, Northumberland, England. He lives and works with his wife on their 24,000-acre ranch outside Alpine, Texas, where they raise Corriente cattle. (SOURCE: