Talk To Me Of Horses

Talk to me of horses,
the young man says,
thin locks of blonde matted
on a sweaty brow, flashes of blue
that fade as eyes succumb
to weariness, the constant
whoosh, whoosh of respirator.

Talk to me of horses;
the world is losing its grip
and I have no cares for

the weather or car mechanics,
but I dream of horses
and I am feeling so emotional,
help me understand.

So I come to his bedside,
wait for moments of lucidity
ponder the implications
of his questions, wrestle with
my own inadequacies –
I am merely student here.

And we discuss horses –
the power of their bodies,
their beauty and grace,
their relationship to people –
decide they are ferrymen
transporting souls across worlds –
an explanation that satisfies, then

I am seeing things, he strains
embarrassed even in these final hours
to describe what seems inconceivable –
between sleep and awake – figures grey

and frightening that hover
over my bed like body snatchers…

A chills runs over me, as if icy
fingers have caressed my skin,
and I shudder despite myself,
scramble to maintain calm,
wonder aloud if it is not just fear
projecting grey into light –
clouding his vision.

My timing is off the next day,
arrive too late to see him pass,
find his mother waiting to receive me,
with a message from her son, my kin,
says that it makes no sense to her,
but he assured her I’d understand.

“You were right about the visions,”
he’d said; “there was nothing to fear.”

I smile through my sorrow –
ever the teacher that one,
now dead at twenty-one –

“Oh, and one more thing – could you
talk to me of horses.”

(Today’s prompt for NaPoWriMo is to write about the mysterious and magical.  This poem is dedicated to my cousin Tyler, whose aspirations were to be a physicist, but for whom life had another fate.  He taught me so much.)



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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

27 thoughts on “Talk To Me Of Horses”

  1. A very moving poem V.J. I don’t have any real affinity with horses but they are majestic creatures and I can understand how people fall in love with them. It always amazes me that the native Americans never had them until the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. Interesting to learn from your comment how people often dream of horses at the end of their life. Glad I found this one. I’m in permanent catch up mode! Have a lovely weekend. Sun is shining here in SW Wales UK 🙂

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  2. I am so glad you were right about the visions … and so glad also you were there to talk with him about the power of their bodies, their beauty and grace. Whether you lived these moments or not, they are haunting and beautifully told.

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    1. Thanks Heide. I did live these moments, many moons about – but it’s one of those things that stays firmly planted in the heart. He was so young, and bright, and I was studying dream work and meditation and so he invited me to take the journey with him.

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      1. How sad that he died so young … but how privileged he was to have you there to listen, and to accompany him as far as you could on that last journey. Just as *i* feel privileged to have “met” you through WordPress! Your writing is beautiful, full of soul, and always thought-provoking. I imagine some of it is deeply personal for you, but I’m immensely grateful you’re willing to share it.

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      2. It was very sad, but the privilege was mine. He taught me so, and for many years after I volunteered with the dying. I really appreciate your support, Heide. Writing is such a therapeutic tool, and I used to keep it to myself, but at almost 60, I have decided it is time to share – so others know they are not alone.

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      3. “… so others know they are not alone.” Yes! I forgot to mention that in my comment. You’re touching on some issues that we seldom discuss in our society but that are both universal and important. There are a couple of your posts especially that have made me think, “Ah, so this happens to other people too!” — and that is so reassuring! So … please keep up the wonderful work, and thank you one more time. xx

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