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Friday, March 21, 2014

Unexpected Joy After Long Darkness: Poem of the Day

My husband and I pieced together all the places we had been at the same time before we finally met. The first time we know that we were in the same room was a small group gathered for a poetry reading by Leslie Norris in 1991 or 1992.

Mr. Norris gave some excellent advice on that fateful day when I didn't meet my husband. He said that one should read a poem every day. While I have failed to follow that advice most days, today I can correct it. And so can you.

Thank you, Leslie Norris, for holding up your candle in the dark world.

The Pit Ponies
by Leslie Norris

They come like the ghosts of horses, shyly,

To this summer field, this fresh green,
Which scares them.

They have been too long in the blind mine,
Their hooves have trodden only stones
And the soft, thick dust of fine coal,

And they do not understand the grass.
For over two years their sun
Has shone from an electric bulb

That has never set, and their walking
Has been along the one, monotonous
Track of pulled coal-trucks.

They have bunched their muscles against
The harness and pulled, and hauled.
But now they have come out of the underworld

And are set down in the sun and real air,
Which are strange to them. They are humble

And modest, their heads are downcast, they
Do not expect to see very far. But one
Is attempting a clumsy gallop. It is

Something he could do when he was very young,
When he was a little foal a long time ago
And he could run fleetly on his long foal's legs,
And almost he can remember this. And look,

One rolls on her back with joy in the clean grass!
And they all, awkwardly and hesitantly, like
Clumsy old men, begin to run, and the field

Is full of happy thunder. They toss their heads,
Their manes fly, they are galloping in freedom.
The ponies have come above ground, they are galloping!

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