What the Horses See at Night

Robin Robertson


What the Horses See at Night

Robin Robertson


What the Horses See at Night

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 croziers
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.


from Swithering (Picador, 2006), © Robin Robertson 2006, used by permission of the author and Macmillan Publishers

Recordings

Robin Robertson Reading from his poems

1Aberdeen

2New Gravity

3The Flaying of Marsyas

4Artichoke

5Static

6Five Views from the Camera Obscura

7The Flowers of the Forest 8Apart

9The Long home

10False Spring

11The Thermal Image

12Tryst

13Dream of the Huntress

14Asterion and the God

15Wedding the Locksmith's Daughter

16Waves

17Hide

18Fall

19The Park Drunk

20Myth

21At Dawn

22What the Horses See at Night

23The Death of Actaeon

24Swimming in the Woods

25Ghost of a Garden

26Selkie

27Wormwood 28The Glair

29Entropy

30Entry

31Strindberg in London

32A Seagull Murmur

33La Stanza delle Mosche

34Lizard

35Manifest

36The Lake at Dusk

37Crossing the Archipelago

38Leavings

39Donegal

40Holding Proteus

Books & cds by Robin Robertson