Monday, June 1, 2009

The White Horse of Uffington

Forever broken, this curve of turf,
by lines deep carved
in centuries of chalk—
white as if some crazed garden path
circling to nowhere
ran amuck among the eternal sheep. 

Sheep farmers with pick and spade,
from below in the valley, come
as they have always come—
through lavender and mustard seasons,
past the iron hill fort they
come up from their fields.

Fields once oxen plowed, now
stitched together by railways,
pinned in the corners by roundabouts.
Here Roman legions once camped,
gawked at Epona’s steed, at her people
come to clear the chalk.

Chalk horse steady on the hill
as it has always been, seven year
to seven year. Wide now, the body,
then narrow necked—
one tender hoof stretched out—
running full tilt, forever.

Originally published in  Full of Crow, June 2009

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