Passages North has posted my poem “Sometimes They Keep a Horse” in their Bonus Content today. This poem is from my upcoming collection Split the Crow.
The poem began in a pretty straightforward way. There’s a farmhouse down the road and sometimes they have a horse in the fenced area, sometimes they don’t. That idea wormed its way into the dark regions of my brain. At first it was just the strange thought of this horse appearing and disappearing, like some kind of sci-fi scene blinking in and out of existence. Then it became a rumination on the idea of impermanence and the way things can both exist and not exist in the same moment, through the clash of reality with our own powers of memory and emotion. Though I wasn’t consciously thinking of the experience, it’s similar to remembering a person you knew in passing (not someone close) who you just learned has died. Those first days you can hear the person’s voice and see the face very clearly, and the person is alive, but not alive. It’s the same with a place. When one leaves a place they loved or spent many years in, it’s as if that place still lives in memory exactly the same.The poem is in a loose pantoum form, and I find pantoums pretty loose as is. I like the echo-effect afforded in the pantoum’s repeated lines but deconstructing the lines a little made that echo even fainter, a little more ghostly and, literally, disappearing.
Thank you Passages North for taking this one!