What the Horses See at Night
When the day-birds have settled in their creaking trees, the doors of the forest open for the flitting drift of deer among the bright crosiers of new ferns and the legible stars; foxes stream from the earth; a tawny owl sweeps the long meadow. In a slink of river-light the mink’s face is already slippery with yolk, and the bay’s tiny islands are drops of solder under a drogue moon. The sea’s a heavy sleeper, dreaming in and out with a catch in each breath, and is not disturbed by that plowt ⎯ the first in a play of herring, a shoal silvering open the sheeted black skin of the sea. Through the starting rain, the moon skirrs across the sky dragging torn shreds of cloud behind. The fox’s call is red and ribboned in the snow’s white shadow. The horses watch the sea climb and climb and walk towards them on the hill, hear the vole crying under the alder, our children breathing slowly in their beds. Robin Robertson