How we draw horses

9 06 2014

I structure his head with a right-angle jawbone

and a maw the size of a finger print.  I forget

the direction of the ear and only smudge in the eye.


Your mother’s mare has both ears, equilateral triangles,

acute hearing.  She gives her a tame nose and dresses

an eye brightly in a kind red iris.  The saddle

on her horse is like a rainbow reflected

in a cross hatched lake.  She brushes a filly’s skirt

with the paintbrush tail then hames her

in a limp mane.  The stirrups are polished

but she is motionless, her torso stands

only on the lines of your notebook.


My horse’s back bucks wildly,

his neck muscles are as pronounced as accent

yet the groin of this gelding is mute.  Knees bulge

like parentheses and push my pen to stroke at legs

that are too long and too slender.  There is never

the need for hooves, he will stand harnessed

to the scribbled grass like a cake decoration.


His mate has grown legs now: they are pairs

of ladder rung limbs capped by coffee cups

or hockey pucks.  She has reins that rise

towards an invisible rider.   Both of our horses face

the same way.  They are as tall as your growing hand.

We pace them so often on the paddocks of your books,

they could be tracings.  Thundering echoes

of one another, drawn always to carry you.




5 responses

11 06 2014
john todaro

Love it, and this is my favorite line:

“There is never

the need for hooves, he will stand harnessed

to the scribbled grass like a cake decoration.”

11 06 2014

I draw the legs so thin that hooves look like high heels – they are ridiculous. Thanks John

15 07 2014

Love this poem – you sound like you know quite a bit about horses

15 07 2014

I think this great – I love this

15 07 2014

Thank you. Drawing for toddlers is repetition, you learn a lot by sketching the same pattern over and over.

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