Melbourne Cup Eve, 2012
Poetry oozes out of me
like a blush on a rash.
I have to rein it in.
I have to put the horse to sleep
on the far stretch, in the bulk of the run
and wake it up again a few mornings
before the final turn. This is not easy.
Every horse wants to race; every poet
wants the freedom of the paddock, the pound
of the earth beneath its feet, the joy of motion.
Horses and poets don’t care about winning.
They only want fresh air in their face, the sound
and smell of movement, an unimpeded view
of the straight. They need the flat thump of hooves
around them but they want to be the first to touch
the new grass, the first to be let down
by their riders after the last turn, the first
to be patted and loved and they want to be
the last to be led back to their stables.