Treasure Island

Pierre Loving


The Black Horse Rider


For George Anthell

Between them is the land of broken colors,
the land that makes a mock of him
with miles.
He rides, he rides,
he passes through the flat
chrome wheatfields
cut by the plough of the river makers.

The hills are aslant,
the clay torsos, the hills,
the clay has a red wound,
it gapes.
The white roots cry,
there is a mute susurrus in the dark:
poppies, poppies are you not
their pain?

With hoof on flint and flint
the black horse
rides: black wind, black
against fire.

The black horse crooks his
forelegs, the hills split open,
his nostrils pour flame.
Snort, snort through miles,
O charger, through rock.

He drinks the mezas,
he burns his thin knees over
braziers of grass:
Ride, ride.

Sky is spilt water,
a silver hello is flung
from star to star.
Black horse breaks
fire underfoot and now
his mane is a burnt city,
his mouth churned ocean,
foam on his belly a constellation.

At last he tramples
the sand
behemoth
Asleep before the sea.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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