Today, March 1st, and the wee morning hours of tomorrow, March 2nd will mark three years since my fat black mare, Di, was stolen away from me by Lord Death. Yes, stolen. I don’t normally view Death as a stealer of life, so much as an escort to the next realm. But He stole Di away, by choice, or by force of station, and I hold Him a grudge for it.
Every year on the anniversary of losing her, I post a poem written in her memory. They aren’t necessarily the most perfect poems, but they’re the only way I have of telling her that I still love her. That I still remember the width of her broad back between my knees and the burnished glow of her earthen eyes. I still remember the unity that we shared.
Di was a focal point of my somewhat questionable poetry even before she died, and the very first poem she inspired eerily foretold of the loss I would suffer just three years later. Perhaps, somehow, the fates were warning me the only way they could, through the ethereal brushes of inspiration. That poem is titled Astray. I didn’t know then that I would eventually be writing a book by the same title, but the two of them complement each other in many ways.
My little pony has gone away
I don’t know why she chose to stray
Her bridle waits on a rusted hook
Her manger guarded by a hoary rook
I walk the empty pasture lane
But I shall not see her again
Di’s bridle still hangs in my bedroom, vestiges of dried grass clinging to the crevasses of the bit from the last time we went riding together. It waits for her eternally. I’ve got a collection of six poems directly inspired by, or in memory of, Di, thus far. I’ll just keep collecting them for all the years in my future. This year it was harder to write one than it was the first two years. Possibly because there is so much excitement going on with the upcoming release of Catskin, so many new beginnings. Excitement and new beginnings that I should be sharing with Di on long afternoon jaunts through the forest. Instead all I can do is sit in the expanse of the back lot and burrow my fingers and toes into the earth, willing Di’s bones, where they rest deep below me, to feel my presence.
Here is the poem for this year:
Up in the high places and down in the coves
Through the old pohickeries, clustered in their groves
A black shadow moves, an imprint of the past
A being that once lived, my love for whom still lasts
We shared life’s path for but the briefest turn of time
Until Lord Death stole you off to some unworldly clime
And left me here subsisting on in lonely mortal sway
Until I cross the veil to meet again on some unknown day.