Horse, Rider

A poem by Gregory Mahrer:

 

What is spun from earth returns not as earth

but as something thrown. We find first the rider

and then the horse that threw him. Are we first

to run our hands over this quadrant of earth,

to find sharpened stone, gash of stirrups?

To add up depletion?

 

Only now we know

that what is thrown from earth stays thrown,

rider and horse tumbling beneath one another

until there is nothing in them that is falling.

Of forelock and whip only the whip remains,

as the earth grows round with what it has loved

and broken.

There’s something going on in this poem that has to do with causality, which reminds me of a quote that I don’t know the author of: “The two—and only two—mistakes that people make are failing to recognize patterns when they’re there and thinking they see patterns when they’re not.”

“We find first the rider and then the horse that threw him”; we discover the natural history of the world backwards, having only the clues of what took place to piece together the antecedents.

If you speak the truth, keep a foot in the stirrup.  – Turkish proverb

 

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