Jane Dards

Poetry to be read and poetry to be performed
Jane Dards
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Carriage horses

by Jane Dards

They walked past the tall window:
A pair of grey carriage horses,
followed by – not a coach, but
a walking man;
not reins, but leads in his hands.
I saw them again:
elegant arched backs,
deep ribs slimming sharply
to narrow male waists,
tails curled and controlled.

Noses pass the next window.
Long mouths releasing lolling tongues,
brows bushing over eager eyes,
ears falling from the crest of bone
anchoring the great muscles
that close the jaws.

Collars circle the thick, close-coupled necks,
restrain the straight shoulders
with their capes of grizzled hair,
shorten the strides of lean legs –
built to run, but run in chase,
and furnished with claws, not hooves.

Then I recall the soft exhalations
heard in the still evening,
that built to an anguished Baskerville howl
and broke into bursts of baying.
Quiet now, they pad across the gravel
to seek the scent of quarry
on the morning air.

“Carriage Horses” was first published in Seam in 1997.

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