Stone Horses

1 February 2015

Each horse in this frieze is unique in temperament and personality. No horse is a duplicate of any
other; the arrangement of head, neck, body, and limbs differs in each, even if only slightly

– “Horse Care as Depicted on Greek Vases before 400 B.C.”, Mary B. Moore


I

On the frieze
plaster has peeled
across one flank
and buttock

open-book
nicked stone
feels parched
as meat.

All along the wall
stern forelegs bend in
towards lined bellies, flush
and veined in plaster.

More frozen steeds
arching for
the best hands
money can pass.

II

Your face is familiar
from the walls at
my university, and here
you are also mounted:

stunned eye stretched bare,
plum nostrils and mouth
peeled back, as though
reined to breakage line.

They have no ear
for you here, either –
eyelids hollow as your
plaster body, lower set

than in Perth. I itch
to translate distance
palming forehead, but will
not provoke ejection.

III

No mouth
is identical
along any
frieze here.

Each pony
is strung
up, erect
lip curls

neck bulges with
indignant whispers,
museum rush
of waterline manes

missing Centauric
claim of body,
smooth agency
of traded plaster.

IV

These teeth are poised
for battle.
Hock arcs to tuck
chipped hooves
to strike.
To fight is no
foreign thought,
though all known equine bickering
pales before
such organised iron intent
to maim.
Each leap and snap
for display
is rerouted, ridden down
no path
any horse could hope
to follow.

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