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Tinker

Empty Stable

11 posts in this topic

Judi1973AppleBlossomParade.jpg Me on Dolly a long time ago

 

Empty Stable

Cobwebs prink the corners of the stalls
and the hard packed floor
has long since been scraped
clean of pine shavings and manure.
No more horses in the stable,
it's been a while,

Miss Mike was our last to go,
she slipped away
while lying in the pasture
with her head on my lap.
A catty cow-pony
who took me on the ride of my life
chasing a calf fleeing castration.
In the pecking order
she was queen of the herd.

Our first was rank old Dolly,
she bit and spit
and would try to rub off her rider
on the nearest tree.
She never dumped me
probably because I didn't ride her much.

Then there was Nugget who woke up
in a new world every day.
A pinto with gold nuggets painted on white,
none prettier but he was the dumbest
thing I've ever known.
Once he fell in a well,
took a tractor and 10 men
to get him out.

Pride was our baby, my mare's foal,
a black,
17 hands and a handful,
only horse to throw
my husband while training.
Spooked by a bear, he broke his neck,
record breaking heat that weekend
and alone with a dead horse
lying in the field was
not my finest day.

But I've saved the best for last,
she was born on St. Patrick's Day,
my love, St. Pat.
A flashy bay
with a single-foot gait,
her stride smoother and faster
than most horses lope.
We were a team,
forged rivers, conquered mountains,
and once even rode color
guard in the Grand National Rodeo.
God I loved her!

I've out lived them all.
My horse days are over
which is probably best,
what would I look like now
trying to get my butt
into the saddle?
          ---Judi Van Gorder

 

Empty Stable

Cobwebs decorate the corners
of the stall and the hard packed floor
has long since been scraped
clean of pine shavings and manure.
No more horses in the stable,
it's been a while,

Miss Mike was our last to go,
she slipped away
while lying in the field
with her head on my lap.
She was our catty cow-pony
who took me on the ride
of my life chasing a calf
fleeing castration.
In the pecking order
she was queen of the herd.

Rank old Dolly, she bit and spit
and would rub her rider off
on the nearest tree.
She never dumped me
probably because I didn't ride her much.
We got her from a Boy Scout Camp,
the scouts liked her until one got hurt.

Then there was Nugget who woke up
in a new world everyday.
Pinto, golden nuggets painted on white,
none prettier but he was the dumbest
thing I've ever known.
Once he fell in a well,
took a tractor and 10 men
to get him out.

Pride was our baby,
St.Pat's foal, a black, 17 hands
at 18 months and a handful.
He was killed by a bear,
we had record breaking heat
that weekend,
Bob was out of town
leaving me to deal with a horse
lying dead in the field.
That was not my finest day.

I've saved the best for last,
she was born on St. Patrick's Day,
my mare, St. Pat.
She was a flashy bay
with a single-foot gait,
her stride was smoother and faster
than most horses lope.
We were a team,
forged rivers, conquered mountains,
and once even rode color guard
in the Grand National Rodeo.
God I loved her!

I've out lived them all.
My horse days are over
which is probably best,
I laugh thinking
what I would look like now
trying to get my butt
into the saddle.
                ---Judi Van Gorder

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Empty Stable

 

Cobwebs decorate the corners

of the stall and the hard packed floor

has long since been scraped

clean of pine shavings and manure.

No more horses in the stable,

it's been a while,

I remember them all,

 

Miss Mike was our last to go,

she slipped away

while lying in the field

with her head on my lap.

She was our catty cow-pony

who took me on the ride

of my life chasing a calf

fleeing castration.

In the pecking order

she was queen of the herd.

 

Rank old Dolly, she bit and spit

and would rub her rider off

on the nearest tree.

She never dumped me

probably because I didn't ride her much.

We got her from a Boy Scout Camp,

the scouts liked her until one got hurt.

 

Then there was Nugget who woke up

in a new world everyday.

Pinto, golden nuggets painted on white,

none prettier but he was the dumbest

thing I've ever known.

Once he fell in a well,

took a tractor and 10 men

to get him out.

 

Pride was our baby,

St.Pat's foal, a black, 17 hands

at 18 months and a handful.

He was killed by a bear,

we had record breaking heat

that weekend,

Bob was out of town

leaving me to deal with a horse ~ Did Bob deliberately leave you to do that

lying dead in the field.

That was not my finest day.

 

I've saved the best for last, ~ S2 has Miss Mike to be the last. Why not "But the best ...my mare ... born

she was born on St. Patrick's Day,

my mare, St. Pat.

She was a flashy bay

with a single-foot gait,

her stride was smoother and faster

than most horses lope.

We were a team,

forged rivers, conquered mountains,

and once even rode color guard

in the Grand National Rodeo.

God I loved her!

 

I've out lived them all.

My horse days are over

which is probably best,

I laugh thinking

what I would look like now

trying to get my butt

into the saddle.

---Judi Van Gorder

 

Wow, tink. An excellent poem, true to the heart, the 'core' as I am thinking of a new term for that genuinely poetic little that is inside the printed and completely fleshed out poem. It is definitely among you far out very best two to four that I have had the privilege to read

he title could not be any better, and, according to what Kooser told me, there is a strong stanza at the outset and the end. But the second stanza might want to be more in the middle or closer to the end. It is the strongest of all by virtue of being the most poigniant and telling. You do need some light editing. A complete thought would be more significant if end-stopped, by a period, esp. since the poem is quite emotional, therefore capable of shorter lines.

 

I have been told, if not in the same words, each single line is, at least at the very moment of reading it, is crucial to a poem this good, wherefore I would recommend or inserting punctuation.line breaks. That would mean not overwhelming a line which already holds a complete, well rounded thoght by adding a small fragment of another such thought most of which appears in the next line, e.g.,

 

...took me on the ride of my life

of my life wile chasing a calf

fleeing castration.

 

It pays for a quite capable poet to avoid confusing some sharper reader, possibly making him woder if your life is taken up by chasing calves or, at the same time, who exacly of the aforementioned is fleeing castration. :icon_cyclops:

 

Small stuff: ...cobwebs decorate corners and floor... ...our the catty... same for our baby whose else could they be) ...Boy Scout camp.

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Hi Tink. This is a sheer pleasure to read. The first and last stanzas bracket well your love of the creatures, in a choice of words that flows smoothly; undulating with rhythm and assonance, the occasional alliteration and incidental rhyme. It makes a pleasant change to be on a site where people are unafraid to express themselves in longer poems. :icon_sunny: Benjamin

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It's a poem all right, a history of beloved horses, the memories you grew up with. It gets a bit gnarly and awkward here and there (not totally smooth, in other words) but the story comes through straight and clear. As for me, I've never been a great fan of smooth poetry .... ;)

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I don't think I'm a strong enough person to deal with animals -- I would be constantly sad, worrying about injuries they might receive, their passing, etc. -- but I'm thankful that there are people willing to do it and do it well. Nice job with the chronology and with tying it in (via the first and last verses) to the title.

 

Tony

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Hi Ike, Wow, thanks for the commentary. I will play with the lines as you suggest. Although when I think of Mike and Pride, I think of them as "our", not "the"... St Pat was not our, but mine. Nugget was Bob's, he was a registered Pinto and we registered him as "Bob's Mistake", mostly we called him Pinto but we always introduced him as Nugget in defference to his beauty.

And no, Bob was working away, he had left 2 days before the attack, I had to deal with that nightmare all by myself. He helped by phone, telling me who to call with a backhoe. I had a hole dug and we drug Pride's body into it. That is a vision I still have in my mind 30 years later. I guess I need to make that clearer in the poem.

Hi Benjamin, Thanks, this one was very personal. Horses were my passion for decades, we had St. Pat and Mike since they were 18 months old, St Pat had to be put down at the age of 29 because of colic and Mike died of old age at 37. Horses are pets just like dogs but they live longer.

Hi Brendan, Yeh wonderful memories even though some seem tragic, the pure pleasure of living with these animals was worth it all. I am a fan of smooth poetry that is why I love your stuff, it just flows. I struggle with it sometimes and was already conscious of the need to smooth my poem out but haven't found the right rhythm yet. I am working on it.

Hi Tony, Of course you are strong enough. The highs certainly out weigh the lows. Each animal has its own personality and like all pets, form attachments. Unconditional love is tough to match. Whenever I went into the pasture St.Pat would come running, she would put her beautiful head down to be scratched behind the ears, she would stand there all day if I continued. She only did that with me. I was hers as she was mine. Mike was just the opposite, she allowed me to handle her as long as Bob wasn't around. But if he was there, she would lay her ears back when I'd approach. She only wanted Bob to bring her in. Later on, after St Pat died, she came around and welcomed my attention, she knew who really took care of her. I love the smell of horses.

~~Tink

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Hi Ike, Wow, thanks for the commentary. I will play with the lines as you suggest. Although when I think of Mike and Pride, I think of them as "our", not "the"... St Pat was not our, but mine. Nugget was Bob's, he was a registered Pinto and we registered him as "Bob's Mistake", mostly we called him Pinto but we always introduced him as Nugget in defference to his beauty.

 

Nothing wrong w/"our" other than it is somewhat superfluous since 'we', the readers know they arenot someone elses horses.

 

And no, Bob had been gone 2 days before the attack, I got to deal with that nightmare all by myself. He helped by phone, telling me who to call with a backhoe. I had a hole dug and we drug Pride's body into it. That is a vision I still have in my mind 30 years later. I guess I need to make that clearer in the poem.

 

I meant that your construction or perhaps the finer meanig of few words (verbs), makes me wonder, i.e., I know he did not leave you with. Rather you were left/put in position having to cope with the difficulty by yourself on top of the loss and the heartache. That would give that stanza extra depth.

 

 

Hi Benjamin, Thanks, this one was very personal. Horses were my passion for decades, we had St. Pat and Mike since they were 18 months old, St Pat had to be put down at the age of 29 because of colic and Mike died of old age at 37. Horses are pets just like dogs but they live longer.

 

 

Hi Brendan, Yeh wonderful memories even though some seem tragic, the pure pleasure of living with these animals was worth it all. I am a fan of smooth poetry that is why I love your stuff, it just flows. I struggle with it sometimes and was already conscious of the need to smooth my poem out but haven't found the right rhythm yet. I am working on it.

 

 

Hi Tony, Of course you are strong enough. The highs certainly out weigh the lows. Each animal has its own personality and like all pets, form attachments. Unconditional love is tough to match. Whenever I went into the pasture St.Pat would come running, she would put her beautiful head down to be scratched behind the ears, she would stand there all day if I continued. She only did that with me. I was hers as she was mine. Mike was just the opposite, she allowed me to handle her as long as Bob wasn't around. But if he was there, she would lay her ears back when I'd approach. She only wanted Bob to bring her in. Later on, after St Pat died, she came around and welcomed my attention, she knew who really took care of her. I love the smell of horses.

 

~~Tink

 

Small extra! How does "...of the stall. The hard packed floor..."

Edited by waxwings

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With Ike's comments in mind regarding line breaks and questions that rose regarding the content and Brendan's comment on rhythm, here is a rewrite:

 

Empty Stable

 

Cobwebs decorate the corners of the stall

and the hard packed floor

has long since been scraped

clean of pine shavings and manure.

No more horses in the stable,

it's been a while,

 

Miss Mike was our last to go,

she slipped away

while lying in the pasture with her head on my lap.

A catty cow-pony

who took me on the ride of my life

chasing a calf fleeing castration.

In the pecking order

she was queen of the herd.

 

Early on there was rank old Dolly,

she bit and spit and would rub her rider off

on the nearest tree.

She never dumped me

probably because I didn't ride her much.

We got her from a Boy Scout Camp,

the scouts liked her until one got hurt.

 

Then there was Nugget who woke up

in a new world every day.

A pinto with golden nuggets painted on white,

none prettier but he was the dumbest

thing I've ever known.

Once he fell in a well,

took a tractor and 10 men

to get him out.

 

Pride was our baby, St.Pat's foal,

-----------a black,

17 hands at 18 months and a handful.

He was killed by a bear,

record breaking heat that weekend,

alone with a dead horse

lying in the field was

not my finest day.

 

I've saved sharing the best for last,

she was born on St. Patrick's Day,

my mare, St. Pat.

She was a flashy bay

with a single-foot gait,

her stride was smoother and faster

than most horses lope.

We were a team,

forged rivers, conquered mountains,

and once even rode color

guard in the Grand National Rodeo.

God I loved her!

 

I've out lived them all.

My horse days are over

which is probably best,

what would I look like now

trying to get my butt

into the saddle?

-------- ---Judi Van Gorder

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Hi Tinker,

 

Such a pleasure to read it. I really like the tone in this poem, it's settled, calm, passionate, reminiscent and a bit teasing at the end.

The horses under your pen are like your family treasures that you enumerate with such a detail.

 

Enjoyed this story, and your historical photo. :)

 

Lake

Edited by Lake

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Hi Lake, Thanks for reading. Yes the horses were family and it was fun to revisit that portion of my life... My granddaughters are now riding and would love it if I would buy a couple of horses for them to ride. That is for their parents to do. Yes, the historical picture is truly historical... 36 years ago..

 

~~Tink

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Whoa, Tinker! I love the picture! It looks like something out of "Bonanza," but from the trucks in the background (1970's models) I can tell that it's not.

 

I enjoyed the rewrite. Thanks for sharing it along with the picture of you and Dolly.

 

Tony

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