Poems About Horses
This page is simply a celebration of horses through poetry and art. Horses have such marvelous presence and sometimes a poem, or piece of art, is able to capture some essence of that presence. All of the paintings below are by a German artist I like, FRANZ MARC. I hope you enjoy the poems, pics and art as much as I do.
There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.
~ Winston Churchill ~
The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears.
~ Arabian Proverb ~
The White Horse
by David Herbert Lawrence
The youth walks up to the white horse, to put its halter on
and the horse looks at him in silence.
They are so silent, they are in another world.
by David Whyte
On Thursday the farmer
put four horses
into the cut hay-field
next to the house . . .
Since then I see
their curved necks
through the kitchen window,
sailing like swans
past the pale field.
their hooves fill my
with an urgency
just beyond my grasp
and I spend my whole
day in an idiot joy,
under every stone.
I find myself
wanting to do
stupid and lovely . . .
I hear the whinny of
their fenced and abandoned
and feel happy
in the field
of my own making,
my head held high,
ranging the boundaries
of a birthright
by James Sheridan Knowles
What delight To back the flying steed,
that challenges The wind for speed!
seems native more of air Than earth!
whose burden only lends him fire!
Whose soul, in his task, turns labour into sport;
Who makes your pastime his! I sit him now!
He takes away my breath! He makes me reel!
I touch not earth - I see not - hear not.
All Is ecstasy of motion!
Horses and Men in Rain
by Carl Sandburg
LET us sit by a hissing steam radiator a winter's day, gray wind pattering frozen raindrops on the window,
And let us talk about milk wagon drivers and grocery delivery boys.
Let us keep our feet in wool slippers and mix hot punches-and talk about mail carriers and messenger boys slipping along the icy sidewalks.
Let us write of olden, golden days and hunters of the Holy Grail and men called "knights" riding horses in the rain, in the cold frozen rain for ladies they loved.
A roustabout hunched on a coal wagon goes by, icicles drip on his hat rim, sheets of ice wrapping the hunks of coal, the caravanserai a gray blur in slant of rain.
Let us nudge the steam radiator with our wool slippers and write poems of Launcelot, the hero, and Roland, the hero, and all the olden golden men who rode horses in the rain.
Blue is the male principle, astringent and spiritual. Yellow is the female principle, gentle, gay and spiritual. Red is matter, brutal and heavy and always the colour to be opposed and overcome by the other two.
~ Franz Marc ~
by James Wright
Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
by Sarah Katy Williams
He stands proud, head held high majestically
Viewing me with reasonable suspicion
My scent fills his nostrils as he breathes in deep
He bows in acceptance and his trust is won
I reach out to touch his shimmering mane
As his soft muzzle brushes my cheek with hot air
I mount him, marvelling at the strength,
The intimacy of a closeness so rare.
As we take to flight the wind borders our path
Exhilaration and adrenalin floods me
His firm muscles beneath me pulsate
And his wild instincts tell him he must flee
I am comforted by the rocking rhythm
His pounding hooves hypnotise me
I am possessed by awe and childlike wonder
This mystical beast and I unite in harmony
We are one, he is me and I am the horse.
by Stanley Harrison
Somewhere in time's own space
There must be some sweet pastured place
Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow
Some paradise where horses go,
For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again.
Horses Moving On the Snow
by David Whyte
through the damp grass
around the house
there are horses moving
on the snow
in the half-light
they move quickly
following the fence
until the mist takes them
is the hollow sound of hooves
in the south field.
Horse and Rider
by Kim Schilling
Galloping towards the base of the steep hill,
watching the breeze bluster through her mane,
with a mild touch I veered her with reign;
For a serene moment all time stood still.
Horse and mount journeying with great skill,
but collectively as one we must attain;
Galloping towards the base of the steep hill,
watching the breeze bluster through her mane.
Feeling the power beneath me is a thrill,
and racing across the meadowy plane,
a feeling rushes over I can't explain,
perhaps the reality of taking a spill;
Galloping towards the base of the steep hill.
Name of Horses
by Donald Hall
All winter your brute shoulders strained against collars, padding
and steerhide over the ash hames,
to haul sledges of cordwood for drying through spring and summer,
for the Glenwood stove next winter, and for the simmering range.
In April you pulled cartloads of manure to spread on the fields,
dark manure of Holsteins, and knobs of your own clustered with oats.
All summer you mowed the grass in meadow and hayfield, the mowing machine
clacketing beside you, while the sun walked high in the morning;
and after noon's heat, you pulled a clawed rake through the same acres,
gathering stacks, and dragged the wagon from stack to stack,
and the built hayrack back, uphill to the chaffy barn,
three loads of hay a day from standing grass in the morning.
Sundays you trotted the two miles to church with the light load
a leather quartertop buggy, and grazed in the sound of hymns.
Generation on generation, your neck rubbed the windowsill
of the stall, smoothing the wood as the sea smooths glass.
When you were old and lame, when your shoulders hurt bending to graze,
one October the man, who fed you and kept you, and harnessed you every morning,
led you through corn stubble to sandy ground above Eagle Pond,
and dug a hole beside you where you stood shuddering in your skin,
and lay the shotgun's muzzle in the boneless hollow behind your ear,
and fired the slug into your brain, and felled you into your grave,
shoveling sand to cover you, setting goldenrod upright above you,
where by next summer a dent in the ground made your monument.
For a hundred and fifty years, in the Pasture of dead horses,
roots of pine trees pushed through the pale curves of your ribs,
yellow blossoms flourished above you in autumn, and in winter
frost heaved your bones in the ground - old toilers, soil makers:
O Roger, Mackerel, Riley, Ned, Nellie, Chester, Lady Ghost.
Horses Running Free
by Ros Shrapnel
Seventeen hands tall,
Girl's best friend during childhood,
Gallops to her heart.
Horse in Landscape: Franz Marc
by David Whyte
We know the fiery animality
of the purebred horse,
its ghostly hide moving like smoke
over the green landscape.
But must remember
in that wild vulnerability
a natural power of rest.
Marc did it with a bold gesture.
Painted the neck
rising to the curved horizon
and its blue mane swelling in waves.
Primary colors and prime emotion
swirl in the coiled flank.
Head rearing to the pasture's expanse.
The landscape living in its body
as the sinewy horse lives in the world.
Now, as it turns toward you,
head curved to one side
and the wild mane flying
above the distant hoof beats'
you are asked again --
What will you do
and what will you say
in the times
when you are left alone
to meet, like this,
the quiet fury of the world?
I am trying to intensify my feeling
for the organic rhythm of all things,
to achieve pantheistic empathy with the throbbing and flowing of nature's bloodstream in trees, in animals,
in the air.
~ Franz Marc ~
by Ronald Duncan
Where in this wide world can man find
nobility without pride,
Friendship without envy,
Or beauty without vanity?
Here, where grace is served with muscle
And strength by gentleness confined
He serves without servility;
he has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent.
There is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.
When God created the horse . . .
from The Koran
When God created the horse, he said to the magnificent creature:
I have made thee as no other.
All the treasures of the earth shall lie between thy eyes.
Thou shalt cast thy enemies between thy hooves,
but thou shalt carry my friends upon they back.
Thy saddle shall be the seat of prayers to me.
And thou fly without any wings, and conquer without any sword.
The Horse Ride
by Annabel Sheila
Taking a romantic ride today,
We sat upon the wagon.
Suddenly the horse lifted his tail
And we heard a roaring dragon!
The deafening sound hurt my ears
And the smell burned the hairs in my nose.
My girlfriend sat and glared at me.
Somehow my fault I suppose.
It was my idea to take the ride,
But how was I to know?
It really wasn't in my plans;
Didn't know the horse would blow.
The noise and the smell were bad enough,
As the wind blew quickly by.
But I think the very worst of it,
Was the brown stuff in my eye.
My girlfriend's face turned angry red.
So I figured I wouldn't dare,
Advise her of the smelly pieces
Of horse stuff in her hair.
The horse finally stopped; my girl ran away,
Stubbornly lifting her chin.
I think that horse was enjoying himself,
Cause I'm sure I saw him grin.
A lesson learned for me today.
Although I must confess,
I laughed so hard I nearly cried
As I wiped away the mess.
Wild Brumbies Run
by Lee Emmett
wild brumbies run
rumbling hooves rush
through trees and brush
manes glow in sun
on high-country courses
nostrils are flaring
sweat pours off flanks
taut muscles ripple
graze, mild and content
all passion spent
placid day greets
The Man And His Horse
by Anne Kingsmill Finch
Within a Meadow, on the way,
A sordid Churl resolv'd to stay,
And give his Horse a Bite;
Purloining so his Neighbours Hay,
That at the Inn he might not pay
For Forage all the Night.
With Heart's content th' unloaded Steed
Began to neigh, and frisk, and feed;
For nothing more he car'd,
Since none of all his Master's breed
E'er found such Pasture, at their need,
Or half so well had far'd.
When, in the turning of a Hand,
Out comes the Owner of the Land,
And do's the Trespass eye;
Which puts poor Bayard to a Stand,
For now his Master do's command
Him to return and fly.
But Hunger quick'ning up his Wit,
And Grass being sweeter than the Bit,
He to the Clown reply'd;
Shall I for you this Dinner quit,
Who to my Back hard Burdens fit,
And to the Death wou'd ride?
No; shou'd I as a Stray be found,
And seiz'd upon forbidden Ground,
I'll on this Spot stand still;
For tho' new Riders shou'd abound,
(Or did Mankind this Field surround)
They cou'd but use me ill.
Urge no Man to despair; lest in the Fit
He with some Counterblow thy Head may hit.
About the Artist
- FRANZ MARC (1880 - 1916)
Short biography and the development of his art. PORTRAIT BELOW: by August Macke