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A poem-a-day-for-four-days - number 3

Elaine Walker

My third poem was written on the day my beloved Appaloosa X Welsh Section D mare joined my herd. Her registered name is August Serenity but this poem is about the way she came by the name I call her.

Autumn Horse 

Against the fading brightness of a bank of mountain ash,

with the burned brown ends of last year’s reeds beyond, she

surveys her surroundings. Behind her, a crown of red berries, a wreath

of golden leaves, a swathe of crisped and faded purple heather. Her black

and white spotted rump is round as a full moon floating across the tired-moss

field. Her finely shaped head is alert, the arched-bow neckline echoes the curve

of the moor against the muted sky. She plants her neat hooves evenly with each

step. She is interested as she explores her new field, keeping a distance

from the unruly geldings crowding along the fence to call her. She does not

trouble with them. A whole day, she wanders ground that’s strange beneath her,

smells air that’s damp and rich with loam and tastes grass that’s a new texture

in her mouth. She is thoughtful, cautious but not overwhelmed. She will breathe

the peat-soaked air from the moors until the rhythms of her blood are attuned

to this place and she blends like her patterned coat into the russet background of

the rippling valley. By evening I have named her ‘Rowan’ and

the colours of autumn have gathered around her.