Not Metaphors

Moyra Donaldson
                   – for Claire
I do not accidentally come across them
in misty fields, or in old gateways, 
I’m aware of where they are, 
day in, day out and though always 
astonished by the centuries in their eyes,
the grace and beauty of their being,
I also know how much they piss and shit.
I’ve wheeled thousands of barrow-loads 
of dung to the muck heap. 
My horses need fed, groomed, shod.
They strain tendons, cut themselves,
get ulcers, viruses, mud fever 
and need the vet; colic during the night.
Are they warm enough, safe enough? 
Is that one losing weight, 
or this one’s sacroiliac flaring up?
My horses are schooled and taught
to carry themselves properly, work
through from behind, maintain a light 
contact, meet a jump on the right stride,
bascule to perfection; leave the poles up. 
That’s a lot of work for me and my horses 
and sometimes we make mistakes – 
fall and get hurt; actually hurt.
Page 76, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 120
Issue 120

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 120:

Edited by Vona Groarke

Vona Groarke's final issue as editor is packed with new poems from leading contemporary poets, including Simon Armitage, Sinéad Morrissey, Colette Bryce, Paul Muldoon, Sean O'Brien and Caitríona O'Reilly. Books reviewed include new work from Derek Mahon, Bernard O'Donoghue, Rita Ann Higgins, Martina Evans, Denise Riley and the 2016 Forward Prize winner Vahni Capildeo. The centrepiece of the issue is an interview with Paul Muldoon in which the Armagh maestro shares his thoughts on subjects as diverse as public surveillance, the economic down-turn, and the exclamation mark. The cover image is by photographer Justyna Kielbowicz, and the issue also contains award-winning artwork from Sven Sandberg, Aoife Dunne, Jane Rainey, and Michelle Hall. Instead of an editorial, Vona herself answers the questionnaire she put to the contributors of Poetry Ireland Review Issue 118: The Rising Generation.