Midsummer White

The ancient one, birthed in another age
beak mouthed, strangely skeletal
peels away from her verdant slope
stutters stonily on tiny hooves
shakes dust from ethereal flanks
nuzzles her impalpable foal

She who once pulled the chariot of the Sun
wakes on this eve of dreams
gallops over hill and vale
bone stone cold creature
looming, outsized, lumpy
she sails over hedgerows
scatters cattle and chickens
sets farm dogs barking
pet dogs to cower

She will break over you like an ocean wave
roll you over and under in your midsummer dreaming
refreshing or drowning, you make your choice, take your chance

Rosy fingered dawn will return her
stiffening to the high slopes
she settles creaking into green
back to the land

For now

Copyright © 2021 Kim Whysall-Hammond

If you stand in the valley near the village of Uffington in Oxfordshire and look up at the high curve of chalk grassland above, you can see an enormous white, abstract stick figure horse cut into the grass. She has a sweeping body, a round eye set in a square head, a beak. and an invisible foal (you’ll have to trust me on that last one).

This is the Uffington White Horse, a 3,000-year-old pictogram visible from 20 miles away.

Once every hundred years the Uffington horse gallops across the sky to be reshod by Wayland in his smithy, just along the Ridgeway track. This is said to have last happened in around 1920. Maybe Wayland waits for her tonight……

This poem was written for the Earthweal Weekly Challenge.

30 thoughts on “Midsummer White

  1. I love this! What a wondrous beast to ride the summer’s night. I’ve always love the tensed energy of this Horse (I have it tattooed on my right upper arm) and the dance of her here is magnificent. I dream deep in her wave. Thanks for giving the challenge this gallop!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wondrous mystical imagery Kim, and love the magic in these lines…
    “She who once pulled the chariot of the Sun
    wakes on this eve of dreams
    gallops over hill and vale”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Such inspired words: I can feel the myth of the horse being channeled through you! I love that vision of her travelling over the hills like a wave, and the nod to Homer at the end.

    This is going to sound very prosaic, but can you see her from the M4? I have a feeling I’ve seen her before, but I can’t remember when or how exactly. It must have been during my own personal dreamtime!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you — Thoight I should add something, as the legends are very local…..

      In fact, this is the oldest of 12 white horses carved into chalk hills in the area. Apparently, they all come down from the hills at different times!

      Like

  4. She will break over you like an ocean wave–I especially like the imagery in this stanza. Midsummer is definitely a time where life is intensified, and the unseen takes form in our bodies and minds. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Rosy fingered dawn will return her
    stiffening to the high slopes
    she settles creaking into green
    back to the land”
    What a vivid image of the horse’s return! And a wonderful flight of the imagination! JIM

    Liked by 1 person

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