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Don’t Be Afraid of the Horses

To My Grandson of Mixed Heritages:
Don’t Be Afraid of the Horses

Don’t be afraid of my ancient British horses
Heads flying down-scooped into the winds,
Black manes on fire screaming over the hills,
Flashing eyes under long, dark lashes
Keeping off the dust from their sight
As they pound the earth
Into your stomach, into your boiling blood.

They carry wrestled medicines on their backs,
Leather pouches full of lightning,
Owl talons, hawk feathers, apples and hazel nuts
All for dancing in your bright veins—
Our ancestors’ council weaving long threads
Into mossy British forests and wild plains
Because you, too, are wild and intrepid.

Stout legged beasts, they are,
Leaping on hilltops, prancing animal warriors
Rushing in to set up wallows in your heart,
Circling into your mind on prideful hooves
Hosting bronze and leather shields of men.
Don’t be afraid of the horses, my young son,
Bringing you home to roots and mud.


Copyright © James Lawer

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