Friday, July 21, 2006

Starting - -

OK, I am slowly getting used to this blog format and ways to post. When Linda gets back from Denver, I will show her and hope that she wants to work with me here.

Slowly, I will add things. Meanwhile, as I try to keep cool in a HOT Oregon weekend, I will say that reading Virginia Woolf's The Waves and Stephen Gould's The Panda's Thumb are great ways to relax in summer.

Here's a wonderful poem by Donald Hall called "Names of Horses" that I shared with my friend Michael yesterday. Note: The line breaks are not quite right due to copy and paste.

Names of Horses

All winter your brute shoulders strained against collars, padding
and steerhide over the ash hames, to haul
sledges of cordwood for drying through spring and summer,
for the Glenwood stove next winter, and for the simmering range.

In April you pulled cartloads of manure to spread on the fields,
dark manure of Holsteins, and knobs of your own clustered with
All summer you mowed the grass in meadow and hayfield, the
mowing machine
clacketing beside you, while the sun walked high in the morning;

and after noon's heat, you pulled a clawed rake through the same
gathering stacks, and dragged the wagon from stack to stack,
and the built hayrack back, uphill to the chaffy barn,
three loads of hay a day from standing grass in the morning.

Sundays you trotted the two miles to church with the light load
a leather quartertop buggy, and grazed in the sound of hymns.
Generation on generation, your neck rubbed the windowsill
of the stall, smoothing the wood as the sea smooths glass.

When you were old and lame, when your shoulders hurt bending
to graze,
one October the man, who fed you and kept you, and harnessed
you every morning,
led you through corn stubble to sandy ground above Eagle Pond,
and dug a hole beside you where you stood shuddering in your

and lay the shotgun's muzzle in the boneless hollow behind your
and fired the slug into your brain, and felled you into your grave,
shoveling sand to cover you, setting goldenrod upright above you,
where by next summer a dent in the ground made your monument.

For a hundred and fifty years, in the Pasture of dead horses,
roots of pine trees pushed through the pale curves of your ribs,
yellow blossoms flourished above you in autumn, and in winter
frost heaved your bones in the ground - old toilers, soil makers:

O Roger, Mackerel, Riley, Ned, Nellie, Chester, Lady Ghost.

Donald Hall from Kicking the Leaves (1978)

More later.


Blogger Michael Faris said...

Thank you so much for showing me this yesterday. It is indeed very moving.

12:50 PM  
Blogger upssidetown said...

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11:40 PM  

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