Robert Hamberger – Failure, My Horse

photo credit: Paul Gillard


Robert Hamberger
Failure, My Horse

You have to wake up in the middle of the night and hear it…chomping
in the field below, like some loyal horse – My failure, my very own failure

James Fenton (A Lesson from Michelangelo)

Nourished by the moon’s neglect,
at home
in its light,

Failure, my horse,
bridles at fences.
In steeplechases

he prefers to contemplate daisies
or the finely brushed pony-tail
of any rump in front.

He knows precisely where to graze,
gazing at elms,
twitching bluebottles from his ears.

He allows a fox to slink
five yards past his flank
over dark fields

sniffing for chickens.
He admires such energy,
but raising one fetlock

before the other
requires art.
To print a hoof exactly,

shaking shadows from the moon
with a shudder of mane,
marks tonight’s achievement.

I am horse he thinks,
or stands beyond thinking.
Being horse is sufficient.

he’ll rub his spine
on a satisfying branch,

while chickens peck
and the fox dozes.