Image: Unsplash, downloaded (https://unsplash.com/photos/YHk_q7LNDXU) 03.06.2023.
Fallen Off His Horse (June 1974)
When we succumbed to the porous ground,
I tried my best to placate gravity.
Ankle-wired to the withers,
we moved as one to fight
the earth's embrace.
It all went dark. I turned.
The sky was like a photograph of hell,
held nothing but contempt for our fragility.
Just then, my horse obscured the clouds.
His mane was streaked with mud,
and as he shook
his breast held the resolve
of stress-warped steel.
The clouds returned.
I got up on my feet.
We both would see
the finishing post again.
A Sprint for Big Summer
Nearby, the ocean’s spacious haze
held its tongue, chose to keep the way
exuberant and clear. The race began.
The grey shape of La Deuxième Étoile
tipped a spear across the wind,
chased the dream down out of sight
around the right-hand corner,
then slanted back into Big Summer’s light.
Around the left and through the end
she’d counter all her shadows,
persevere against their rattling dance,
discard the sprint into a fulsome flash.
Like July sun on pacific waves,
she did emerge high-spirited and shining.
Yearling Sale, 1954
Among the dogwood, ash and eastern pine
I saw his mane, his transcendental stance.
The strange, ungainly, blessed arc of my life
now bends towards the purchase of this horse.
In time, each quiet day will take its course
and you will see my wisdom, tall and proud.
You will applaud my foresight of his grace.
You will forgive the arrogance of the name
I gave to him; that promise he'll fulfill.
The future is a bright, ethereal place
where every soul can come to recognize
his fortitude, his fervent strength of will.
The View From the Pace Car
You can see the lawns of Rideau Carleton
rotate on their axis like a globe.
The infield is a world out of reach,
its forests mute, an unsubdued expanse.
The horses, here, are constellations
upright on the war-path, quarter-miles
delineating seasons. With yearning cries,
each battle births a new commanding star
who brings an earthen cycle to its end.
Their hoofbeats form the background of this world:
a winnowing roar the people cannot hear,
the sound time makes to underpin its passing.
Patrician’s face, his solemn blaze
held high, attentive. Left foot raised
and every muscle tempered, even-keel.
Eyes turned inward, allowing
and inviting nothing, and yet his mane
played meaning-laden waltzes with the wind.
His hooves would hammer rounds out from the earth:
brash counterpoint, unyielding declarations.
Long-blessed, his gnarled magenta heart
conducted scores of proud wisteria-veins.
About the Author: Ethan Vilu is a poet and editor from Calgary, Canada. Her longsheet A Decision Re: Zurich was published by The Blasted Tree in 2020, and her chapbook Drawings From Before The Red Year is forthcoming with Anstruther Press. Ethan currently serves as both poetry editor and circulation manager for filling Station Magazine.