Tag Archives: Verse Thursday

Verse Thursday: Rumi

We now return to our regularly scheduled Verse Thursday.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.


© 2009 enlightened horsemanship through touch

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Verse Thursday: Alfred, Lord Tennyson

See if you can find the horsie bits. 😉

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

The Lady of Shalott (1842)

Part I
On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro’ the field the road runs by
To many-tower’d Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro’ the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow veil’d,
Slide the heavy barges trail’d
By slow horses; and unhail’d
The shallop flitteth silken-sail’d
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
Down to tower’d Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers ” ‘Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott.”

Part II
There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving thro’ a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair’d page in crimson clad,
Goes by to tower’d Camelot;
And sometimes thro’ the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror’s magic sights,
For often thro’ the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed:
“I am half sick of shadows,” said
The Lady of Shalott.

Part III
A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro’ the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel’d
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter’d free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon’d baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell’d shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn’d like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro’ the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow’d;
On burnish’d hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow’d
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash’d into the crystal mirror,
“Tirra lirra,” by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro’ the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott.

Part IV
In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower’d Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river’s dim expanse
Like some bold seër in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance–
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right–
The leaves upon her falling light–
Thro’ the noises of the night
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken’d wholly,
Turn’d to tower’d Camelot.
For ere she reach’d upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross’d themselves for fear,
All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, “She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott.”

© 2009 enlightened horsemanship through touch

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Ode To the Barn Dog

Ode To the Barn Dog

I cast my eyes to you there,
Snoozing under the F150
And consider your many qualities.

You shaggy, faithful heel nipper.
Follower, beggar, thief.

Cherished protector of those
Who would land a stout kick to your snout
As you steal hoof trimmings and
Snuffle up grain.

Shadow of muck rake
Catcher of rats
Siren of loose horse
You snuggle at the end of a long hard day
My barn dog.


Wibble the Muck Mascot

Wibble the Muck Mascot

Ride With Pride's Barn Dog

Ride With Pride's Barn Dog


More about barn dogs:
American Barn Dog Registry
The Un-Barn Dog

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Verse Thursday: David Whyte

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.

Until now.

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Verse Thursday: Roger Keyes

Verse Thursday: Roger Keyes


Hokusai's The Great Wave

Hokusai's The Great Wave










Hokusai* says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing…

He says everything is alive—
Shells, buildings, people fish
Mountains, tress. Wood is alive.
Water is alive.

Everything has its own life.
Everything lives inside us.
He says live with the world inside you…

It matters that you care.
It matters that you feel.
It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives through you…
Look, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.

*Katsushika Hokusai was a 19th century painter and printmaker, most famous for his “Thirty six Views of Mount Fuji” and “The Great Wave off Kanagawa.”

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Verse Thursday Courtesy of Bonnitta Roy

A Poem with a Happy Ending
For Spider Peg


They say you’re in some kind of trouble.
Now, I know for a fact
There are two kinds of trouble.
Good kinds, and bad ones.
But I never developed the knack
Of telling for sure
The difference.

I am the kind
When it comes,
Or calls… sometimes you get “the call”
To go there, in a rushing sort of way
To see what the trouble is,
That’s got me out of bed again
(Cause trouble comes mostly then.)

In my neck of the woods
Trouble usually means
A dog fight or a cat spat
A coyote (or poacher)
Taking down a deer
Or some drunk gone off the road
And hung up in a tree.

Now if you know what I mean
These are not all bad troubles.
I have met friends this way.
I have seen the deeply naked
Eye of killers
And the softly retreating
Eye of the dying.

“Things have to die,” my mother said
“Or else we’d just have too many of them.”
Therein lies the trouble, I suppose.
Too many things to hold on to
And we want to hold on to


One night,
Roused from sleep under a shiva moon,
I got the call.
“Come quick. Remi’s having
Some kind of trouble.”
In my truck, I drove the
Twenty miles to get to him.

Remington – my behemoth of a horse
A handsome thoroughbred, now
Very old, and riddled with his troubles.
Distressed in many ways,
He seemed to be dying.
“What kind of trouble is this one,
My wonderful friend?”
I asked, of him, and of the night.

I sat in a corner of his stall.
He roared a deep dark sigh that smelled of blood and urine,
Pounded the stall floor several times,
And gently- so gently that I could not
Recall him as a horse-
Laid down, his tremendous head
Gentling into my lap.

His heavy head fit there
Like the baby Christ in his manger
Half in, half out.
His huge eye stared wantingly
Into my own depths.
And I gave him back nothing.
Not kindness, nor sorrow, nor comforting words.

Nothing but my presence.
As if by merely being there
To raise his skull up from the
Soiled bedding,
Was the point of having come
To visit with him and his trouble
This late night.

His huge eye retreated, softly
Into some cavernous region
Behind his skull.
And chased his tongue out
Where it stilled itself against
My thigh
Like a dying flounder.

A terrific stillness followed.
And I did nothing.
I did not move, or weep, or try
To think of better days
When we rode like lightning
Dangerously across the endless fields
Like the mounted warriors of Armageddon.

Then he startled himself
And woke up from the dead
And with the same uncanny gentleness
Stood up, and gave a good shaking
To the wearied body he had abandoned
For a long long long – moment.
And got on with eating his hay.

On the way back
In my truck
The strangest thing happened.
Whatever it was that had left him
And crossed, so to speak
Where bodies do not follow
Scooped me up with it.

And I rode this disembodied thing
Into the farthest heavens,
From which vantage point
I could see my earthly self
Motoring along the country roads
With all of space and time
Still down there, but now within me.

I, the universe, bellowed a primordial laugh
That announced
An extreme kind of trouble!
At times I wonder how that
Was heard in the earthly realm.
Did it rouse the embodied beings
Sleeping there
Under their shiva moon?


Dearest, warmest, wondrous, wisest Spider Peg,

I know you know of such things:
Horses risen from the dead
And humans given wings.
It is as if we’ve rode the same horse
Or borrowed that same pair of wings
From time to time
To rise above the realm
Of mere mortals and men.

Don’t get me wrong.
I know you love it here
As I do.
I know you love the hoof-pocked
Path through the prairies
As the trouble-riddled roads
Of our minds.

Terrible and terrific
Places, where the she-devil dances
Beneath a haloed moon
Giving rise to all that comes forward
Through blood, excrement and tears
Like the living dead on Halloween.

But never for too long.
Or else there’d be too many of us!
Too long, would be unbearable.
Coyote knows well enough
When to move on.

Here today.
Gone tomorrow.

It’s all a vanishing act.

One day
I shall again ride as you do now
On that horse spirit,
To be swept away deep into the sun
Where we were born out of
Some kind of trouble.
Unlike Icarus
Without the vanity of such things
As wings made of wax

Neigh, on wings of pure laughter
I will see you soar! As

the eagle
who is you
who is she
who is me.


Bonnitta tells me that she wrote this poem, which recounts a true story, the night she was told that a friend had only days to live. This friend was a cowgirl/ rancher growing up and a philosopher/ psychologist who integrated Native American spiritual practices into modern methodologies of meaning. As she was dying, her family emailed out to inform friends and welcomed comments. Bonnitta wrote through the night (after the incident reported in the poem).  She says, “the poem just came to me “out of know-where.”  Her friend died that night, and Bonnitta never knew for sure if she received the poem …

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