Thursday, 12 March 2009

Wild Horses

Here is the final Poet-in-Residence poem selected from several published in Pulsar Poetry Magazine. The other three poems can be found directly below. Wild Horses first saw the light of day in the June 2005 edition (no. 42),-

Wild Horses

Jobless to Rise
is how that evening's paper saw it.

I was leaning over the rail
alongside the Riverside Terminus
contemplating the implications,
the options, the consequences;
and waiting for the bus.

I was drawn from my reverie
by the bracing smell of shower gel.
Close by and curving into me
was a brace of Aphrodisian seahorses.

Those twins were half unzipped
and v-framed in a sky-blue jumpsuit;
caressed with strands of wavy hair
and overlooked by helpless eyes
of the deepest swimming-pool blue.

They solicited only simple directions.
Could I by any chance point out
the most convenient place to worship.

Eager to be of service I told of a huge
emblematic edifice around the corner
with tall spires reaching heavenwards;
reaching up towards the unreachable stars;
a folly in spite of all its appearances;
a cold grey and gloomy construction
with no parish to call its own and
nobody ever going in there; spiders
and rats inhabiting the place.

All the clocks stopped.
The horses squealed and stamped their feet;
shook their proud heads and finally turned
and went away

stomp...stomp...stomping away
with a swish of the tail;

but hopefully not

in the wrong direction.

c) 2005 Gwilym Williams


  1. Now that I have got to your comments page I am not sure what to say. I have read your poem three times - some lines I love - swimming-pool blue eyes - wonderful. It conjures up such pictures, yet I am not sure of what I am reading. Shall now go and read it again, safe in the knowledge that my Honda Jazz is not going to be attacked by a marten be it stone or pine. Thanks.

  2. God help me - this was an erotic, wishful thinking dream, as far as I could tell? Had I better go visit a shrink?

  3. jinksy, you are on the tright track, the erotic events and the newspaper article described are in fact true, and the church is the Vienna Votivkirche built in no parish and in a constant state of repair, which was erected to commemorate a more or less fictitious 'heroic' incident which was blown up out of all proprtion to boost the credentials of the heir to the Austrian throne and to make schoolchildren more gullible if that were possible, it's here today because of the increasing number of young girls now wandering into the oldest profession as a result of the ecomonomic crisis - so yes, it's valid. No need for a shrink I hope!

  4. I enjoyed this. (And it got me thinking of -and rereading- Edwin Muir's The Horses).

  5. Jinksy, have you read the quote currently at the header of this that is really erotic poetry, isn't it?

  6. Dominic, I haven't read Muir's book. I'll put it on my list as I'm going to the library later today to look for Name of the Rose. This is because in April I'm going on a conducted tour through the Abbey at Melk which is where the action takes place. I have seen the film of Name of the Rose but never read the book.
    John, glad you enjoyed them. I think it's a pity that poetry magazines always insist on this 'never published elsewhere rule' but I understand why they do it. If I was an editor I think I'd modify it to 3 years or so.

  7. Just doing some cut and paste while talking to Weaver of Grass on the phone here

    The Horses

    Barely a twelvemonth after
    The seven days war that put the world to sleep,
    Late in the evening the strange horses came.
    By then we had made our covenant with silence,
    But in the first few days it was so still
    We listened to our breathing and were afraid.
    On the second day
    The radios failed; we turned the knobs; no answer.
    On the third day a warship passed us, heading north,
    Dead bodies piled on the deck. On the sixth day
    A plane plunged over us into the sea. Thereafter
    Nothing. The radios dumb;
    And still they stand in corners of our kitchens,
    And stand, perhaps, turned on, in a million rooms
    All over the world. But now if they should speak,
    If on a sudden they should speak again,
    If on the stroke of noon a voice should speak,
    We would not listen, we would not let it bring
    That old bad world that swallowed its children quick
    At one great gulp. We would not have it again.
    Sometimes we think of the nations lying asleep,
    Curled blindly in impenetrable sorrow,
    And then the thought confounds us with its strangeness.
    The tractors lie about our fields; at evening
    They look like dank sea-monsters couched and waiting.
    We leave them where they are and let them rust:
    'They'll molder away and be like other loam.'
    We make our oxen drag our rusty plows,
    Long laid aside. We have gone back
    Far past our fathers' land.
    And then, that evening
    Late in the summer the strange horses came.
    We heard a distant tapping on the road,
    A deepening drumming; it stopped, went on again
    And at the corner changed to hollow thunder.
    We saw the heads
    Like a wild wave charging and were afraid.
    We had sold our horses in our fathers' time
    To buy new tractors. Now they were strange to us
    As fabulous steeds set on an ancient shield.
    Or illustrations in a book of knights.
    We did not dare go near them. Yet they waited,
    Stubborn and shy, as if they had been sent
    By an old command to find our whereabouts
    And that long-lost archaic companionship.
    In the first moment we had never a thought
    That they were creatures to be owned and used.
    Among them were some half a dozen colts
    Dropped in some wilderness of the broken world,
    Yet new as if they had come from their own Eden.
    Since then they have pulled our plows and borne our loads
    But that free servitude still can pierce our hearts.
    Our life is changed; their coming our beginning.

    Edwin Muir

  8. Many thanks for that Dominic. It's a prophetic thing. Prince Charles reckons we've all only got about 100 months left before 'the end' according to an article in today's free U-Bahn sheet. I'll have to google him and see what he's on about. But a great poem there by Muir. Couldn't find him at the library. Got Jorge Luis Borges 'This Craft of Verse' to compensate!


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