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The Poetry of Horses

The Poetry of Horses

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No wonder knights in medieval times wanted the biggest, most beautiful stallion to carry them into battle. Harjo's first volume of poetry was published in 1975 as a nine-poem chapbook titled The Last Song. These early compositions, set in Oklahoma and New Mexico, reveal Harjo’s remarkable power and insight into the fragmented history of indigenous peoples. Commenting on the poem “3 AM” in World Literature Today, John Scarry wrote that it “is a work filled with ghosts from the Native American past, figures seen operating in an alien culture that is itself a victim of fragmentation…Here the Albuquerque airport is both modern America’s technology and moral nature—and both clearly have failed.” What Moon Drove Me to This? (1980) , Harjo’s first full-length volume of poetry, appeared four years later and includes the entirety of The Last Song. The book continues to blend everyday experiences with deep spiritual truths. In an interview with Laura Coltelli in Winged Words: American Indian Writers Speak, Harjo shared the creative process behind her poetry: “I begin with the seed of an emotion, a place, and then move from there… I no longer see the poem as an ending point, perhaps more the end of a journey, an often long journey that can begin years earlier, say with the blur of the memory of the sun on someone’s cheek, a certain smell, an ache, and will culminate years later in a poem, sifted through a point, a lake in my heart through which language must come.”

Did you connect to any of these quotes? Which one of these quotes was your favorite? Do you have any fun horse stories that you want to share? Leave a comment below for us and other horse lovers to read! for there is no other feeling in the world to compare with it if one loves a great horse. It gives a thrill that nothing else ever can. It cannot be put into words, because words cannot express it.” – Samuel Riddle Specially commissioned to celebrate the chalk horses carved into the Wiltshire hills, ‘The White Horses’ contains the coinage ‘leucippotomists’ – fans and students of the white horses carved into the landscape. This poem isn’t easily found online, but it is included within the Prezi presentation (publicly available) which we’ve linked to above. Through the days of love and celebration and joy, and through the dark days of mourning – the faithful horse has been with us always.” ​- Elizabeth Cotton​​ Without our horse, Foinavon would never have been heard of and one of the most enduring and replayed moments in British Racing history would never have happened.A horse is the projection of peoples’ dreams about themselves – strong, powerful, beautiful – and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence.” – Pam Brown

This poem, published in 1957, may remind some readers of William Wordsworth in its focus on nature’s overwhelming impact on humans. The poet goes to the hilltop at dawn and walks down, encounteres the horses which are symbolic and central. Underlying the poem is the theme of the power of nature. The horses, in their stillness, may represent the spirit of the natural world; eternal and timeless. In the next section, the poet uses a paradox in “The frost showed its fires”. Here, the poet refers to the warmth of life inside the horses. In contrast, they didn’t show any signs of it. The poet was surprised with such an absence of movement in the horses. Coltelli, Laura, editor, The Spiral of Memory: Interviews: Joy Harjo, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1996. However, I saw Teddy Grimthorpe [racing manager to Prince Khalid Abdullah] recently and he had been surprised to hear something about the Breeders’ Cup contract, saying ‘I thought you were just a wandering poet!’ so I think I really need to start working on my corporate image a bit more to dispel that notion!”A large and liquid eye… the swirl of dust around pounding hooves… these, then, are the images that move us.” – Unknown For the remainder of the 1970s Smith recorded and performed with the Patti Smith Group, releasing Radio Ethiopia the next year, followed in 1978 by her most commercially successful record, Easter, which included Because the Night, co-written with Bruce Springsteen, and then Wave in 1979. In the steady gaze of the horse shines a silent eloquence that speaks of love and loyalty, strength and courage. It is the window that reveals to us how willing is his spirit, how generous his heart.” – Unknown The love for a horse is just as complicated as the love for another human being… if you never love a horse, you will never understand.” – Unknown A horse doesn’t care how much you know until he knows how much you care. Put your hand on your horse and your heart in your hand.” – Pat Parelli



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