Friday, January 18, 2013

Red Horse in a Winter Field

When I was a student at Immaculate Heart College in Hollywood, almost 40 years ago, I dreamed of a red horse; a large, glowing, muscular, head-tossing creature. As I approached the red horse to ride it, it slowly shrank until it resembled in size a big dog. I felt foolish and frustrated and remarked to myself that to ride this horse I would have to be the size of a child on a Hobby Horse. The dream either expressed or introduced a deep mood of chagrin and is one of very few dreams I have remembered across time. Since I have been living in Owens Valley, my camera's eye has been caught many times by red horses in pastures around Bishop and Big Pine. Now I have begun a series of paintings of red horses, using my photographs as source material, and a few days ago, I wrote a red horse poem.

a red horse on the Paiute Reservation, Bishop
 a red horse in a Rossi pasture, Big Pine
 a draft horse as it stands in my mind
a pack horse poking head through barbed wire, begging

Red Horse in a Winter Field

I dreamed a Palomino
taffy and gold,
I dreamed a Harlequin Pony
cheerful and bold.
I dreamed a Red Horse shrinking
from shame and cold.

Taffy and gold was sold.
Cheerful and bold grew old.
Red Horse mired in thickets and wire,
kept buried in coal like fire.

Winter's color, winter's stain
rust and blood on the window pane.
Trained in thickets, framed in wire,
Red Horse returns, blamelessly burning.