Reading Pablo Neruda

It is a borrowed horse
I heel bareback toward the high pass,
leaping streams and battering columbine
for a view of a hidden valley.

The horse tangles his feet,
shakes direction out of his mane,
his neck a muscular question mark,
one furious eye demanding
something human in a phrase
of wet coughs and clattering stones.

I give him his way and he turns
a tidy practiced pirouette on the slope,
rocks me back down through the wet meadow
of senseless color, gentle pine breeze,
sparse birdsong.

Ambling aside from the trail
lazily as a stream snubs a boulder,
he stumbles comfortably to his knees,
allowing my easy dismount
before he rolls in soft moss and wildflowers,
snorting a flabby sigh.

The meadow spreads out under the loving sky.
Bees stitch a quilt of bright lamb’s tongue blossoms.
Forget-me-nots take their Franciscan nourishment.
Tumbling water patiently polishes stones.
Light wind listens.

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About Greg Bryant

I teach writing and literature at Highland Community College in northeast Kansas.
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