Poetry Friday: Poet In Residence, 'My Dark Horses'

Nov 30, 2018

Just a couple of days ago, it was sunny and warm in Flagstaff…perfect weather for an outside poetry reading in a beautiful stone courtyard at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Jodie Hollander is the museum’s current poet in residence and this week’s Poetry Friday reader. Today, she treats us to a couple of poems from her latest collection, ‘My Dark Horses’.  

Jodie Hollander:

Arriving in Flagstaff, the writing has just poured out in a way that it never has before. It’s been absolutely magical. It’s an incredible place to work. I think there’s something about the energy of this part of the country, combined with the deep, deep quiet of where the studio is situated. Just seeing deer out my window, seeing trees, seeing the mountains…I can start to sort of hear my poems as they want to be heard, and I have the sort of internal space to think.

So, this poem comes from a dream I had that I was giving birth to a goldfish.

“He’s”

He’s just about the size of a goldfish

And doesn’t even look like a child.

When did he arrive? I don’t remember.

The pain must have made me forget.

Anyway, now I have a son

That lives in my cupped together hands

In a small pool of water I think he needs.

I spend my hours closely watching him,

Nervous he’ll slip between my fingers

And vanish down some drain forever.

Or worse yet, he’ll try and swim away.

Each day he gets a little bigger

Til he no longer needs my hands.

I carry him around like a baby

Buy him PJ’s with yellow ducks

And little booties to keep his feet warm.

He smells like the sweetness of a baby

And smiles at me.

I cautiously smile back.

Now he’s growing faster by the hour,

And I can no longer handle the weight.

My arms start to tire.

I must tell him.

I put his soft cheek on mine and say,

‘He simply cannot grow any bigger.

He must promise me to always stay small

So that I know I can love him’.

  

Jodie Hollander, poet in residence at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff
Credit Gillian Ferris / KNAU

Ok. I’m going to read ‘My Dark Horses’

If only I were more like my dark horses,

I wouldn’t have to worry all the time

That I was running too little

And resting too much.

I’d spend my hours grazing in the sunlight,

Taking long naps in the vast pastures.

And when it was time to move along

I’d know.

I’d spend some time with all those I’d loved,

Then disappear into a gathering of trees.

If only I were more like my dark horses,

I wouldn’t be so frightened of the storms.

Instead, when the clouds began to gather and fill,

I’d make my way calmly to the shed

And stand close to all the other horses.

Together we’d let the rain fall round us,

Knowing as darkness passes overhead,

That above all,

This is the time to be still.

Poetry Friday is produced by KNAU's Gillian Ferris. If you have an idea for a segment, drop her an email at Gillian.Ferris@nau.edu.