|wee me with a (wee) miniature horse|
Cinnamon, and foal Sugar (behind)
Around these parts, spring has quickly morphed into blazing summer. It's all good, though! We've enjoyed several sightings of your nearest neighbors -- a pair of bald eagles! I've been writing, of course... and working on last-call edits for two forthcoming picture books. (Click to see a sneak peek of those covers!) I've also been spending as much time with our son as possible -- he's a graduating high school senior, and the day after graduation he will leave to work as a camp counselor for the summer:
BOOM! Empty nest!
No, I am not ready. Super excited for him and all that awaits, but wow. This raising-kids thing went by terribly fast! Sigh. Good thing I've got books (and an awfully sweet husband) to keep me company.
With that in mind, today I'd like to share a book I checked out from the library and then decided to purchase, because I love it so much: THE HORSE'S HAIKU by Michael J. Rosen, illustrated by Stan Fellows, brought to us by Candlewick Press.
I love horses. I love books about horses. And this one is certainly a celebration of our equine friends. So many of my most favorite moments of horse-watching are recorded here:
one foal nods, slicing
the fog shared breaths - the mare
nods in agreement
I have LOVED watching horses speak to one another on cold fog-breathy mornings! It feels so intimate, so reverential.
And how 'bout this one, about the magic of a horse emerging from a dust roll:
wriggling in the dirt,
dust clouds of kicking hooves, then --
poof! -- horse standing there
There are haiku about shadows and hoofprints and that lip-flutter way horses take a treat from your palm. About water dribbling from the horse's mouth and those pesky horseflies.
One of my favorite spreads is about the horse's eye:
|art by Stan Fellows|
Even horse-chores are made beautiful, as in this one about cleaning a horse's hooves:
front leg half-folded
horse's hoof rests in your palm
weightless as prayer
And what about that moment during a gallop (or jump) when all for hooves are in the air at once?
time, too, must stretch as
rear hooves launch from earth.. and then
front hooves ground again
The final one I'd like to share is about that relationship between horse and rider:
right food slid in place,
heels pressed down in both stirrups-
trust is your seat belt
This is the perfect book for that horse-loving person in your life. I've actually written quite a lot of poems about horses and horse-love, so I thought I'd use this opportunity to share a couple with you today:
first, one from childhood:
See his action, see him run
Such a beauty when he's won
Whipping mane, flowing tail
His coat like a rusty nail
Winning by one hundred lengths
Everyone knows he has no kinks
Such a wonderful horse was he
There really was no race to see
Twenty races out of twenty-one
What a sight to see him run!
- Irene Dykes (long before I was Latham)
Next, an unpublished poem (pic is from a trip to Chincoteague Island, which you can read about here)
Anatomy of a Horse
mane for braiding
hooves for painting
for teasing carrots
from your fingertips
tail for swishing
nose for nuzzling
each mood and feeling
eyes for admiring
neck for hugging
for a long life
of loving you
- Irene Latham
There's also a "horse" poem in CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR?
I don't know how to explain
to Charles how I feel about horses
when he shuffles so fast
from one subject to the next.
Finally I blurt, sometimes I just need
a break from people.
He surprises me and shuts up right away,
so I tell him about the sweet scent
of hay and saddle soap,
how my stomach somersaults
when Honey surges from trot to canter,
and how the wind parts my hair
when I lean into her neck
whispering, faster, faster.
When I want Honey to slow down,
all I have to do
is give the reins a gentle tug,
and soon we are back to clop-clopping.
Honey and I understand each other
without any words at all.
- Irene Latham
Have YOU written a horse poem? If so, I'd love to read it!