White horse

I could’ve told you your disappointment
when we picnicked in the car-park,
tucked under that huge belly
stencilled on the hillside;
but you raced off up the steps
and I plodded presciently behind.
From my flat ascending angle
strange arcs of haunch
dipped and swerved in the turg
like slices of young moon,
but when I joined you at the top
it was all hid by the overhang.
We gazed at my boyhood Yorkshire –
smoky distant eggcups of Drax,
the Minster sensed in a far cloud,
something happening on the horizon
that was Leeds, where elsewhere began,
but with a child’s scorn of the view
you were edging down, onto the horse,
wanting to gather its wonderful shape.
And there we lost it. On the spot
it was as eventful as a car-park,
just a paved clearing on a slope,
impossible to focus, all its beauty
dispersed to the winds. To soothe you
I ran back down to take a photo:
it’s a splendid one of the horse
but you’re only a hurrahing speck
in a bobble-hat, almost invisible.
Three miles away, in the car,
we looked back on its majesty,
lording it above the landscape,
a limestone lesson that to grasp
is to extinguish, the love
is strangely akin to separation.

unpublished poem, ? Steve Ellis 2016, used by permission of the author

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