My Life With Horses


Before I knew there were men
I galloped a pony bareback.
It was a hard winter, but
how sure-footed we were, resolute
in frozen emptiness, stamping
the ice with our names.

Years later I lay like a foal in the grass,
wanting to touch your hair.
We clutched like shadows,
I twined the past through my fingers, kissing
great gulps of father, of mother,
galloping with nothing to stop me.

Now in the evening I put on my dress
like a secret; will you see
how my elbow pokes like a hock,
the way I have carefully cut my mane,
the way my eyes roll from fear of you?
I’m trying to hide the animal I am;

and you give me a necklace,
bright as a bit, and you’re stamping your name
into the earth, and my arm
is around you, weak as a halter,
and nothing can stop me, no mother or father.

from Kiss (Bloodaxe Books, 2000), © Polly Clark 2000, used by permission of the author and the publisher

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work. Our catalogue store includes many more recordings which you can download to your device.