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Curated by Judy Gaudet

Horse in a Rut

“I have travelled over miles of corduroy road in a springless waggon,
and in a lumber waggon, drawn by oxen, where there was no road at all,
but I never experienced anything like the merciless joint-dislocating
jolting which I met with in Charlotte Town.”

—Isabella Lucy Bird

Town’s a tough slog, whole meadows ground into every rut,
run through with grips. The fresh salt tang of marsh grass
churned to bog. The smell of muck is today’s oats
and fresh water passed into dirt in my kind’s daily struggle
through the damned season of mud.

And him, the heavy rider,
an angel with the oats but a devil with the whip.

Summer in the country, now, the only bother is flies
(bred in mud, of course), the flick of my tail another flail.
Oh, the hay-dry season, time of sun-growing oats,
cut and carried along dry roads. Apple-bright days.

And him behind a plough, long looks and easy paces
against the shush of wind.

Wind’s a year-round friend, constant across town and country.
I smell far and nearby pastures, and salt on the air, even on the bit.
At least I have always something to pull towards.
And don’t tell me you’re bogged down
unless your ankles are in the mud.

—Jane Ledwell, from a project funded by the PEI Council of the Arts Sesquicentennial Public Art Commission, shortly to be published by Island Studies Press. Jane is also the author of Last Tomato, Acorn, 2009.

Island poet and avid poetry reader Judy Gaudet selects a poem by a PEI poet each month. Judy's latest book is Conversation with Crows (Oberon,2014)

 

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