They may be the world’s most beautiful horses.
The oligarchs fight over them
and their blonde metal coats.
Once they were buried in white cloths.
‘He was a good horse. He worked well.’
Beauty, too, must earn its oats.
Walker and Rider
The blonde of barley breaks and bends before
the dip of ears, blonde of the pony’s mane.
Behind, the wood, with necessary felled trees,
above, the clouds stream heaped and sudden seas.
Summer lies on your brown hands, honey, heat.
But by your feet corn weighs its bending stalks.
And are you Orpheus, who called the birds?
Eurydice, who died, despite his words?
Oh you are both, dark of the wood, blonde sky,
late summer, man and warm mare, you and I.
Alison Brackenbury's eighth collection isThen, (Carcanet, 2013). Her work has also appeared in The Guardian and on BBC Radio 3 and 4. New poems can be seen at her blog: www.alisonbrackenbury.co.uk. Alison is a familiar figure on the UK poetry-reading circuit.