White horse

I could’ve told you your disappointment
when we picnicked in the car-park,
tucked under that huge belly
stencilled on the hillside;
but you raced off up the steps
and I plodded presciently behind.
From my flat ascending angle
strange arcs of haunch
dipped and swerved in the turg
like slices of young moon,
but when I joined you at the top
it was all hid by the overhang.
We gazed at my boyhood Yorkshire –
smoky distant eggcups of Drax,
the Minster sensed in a far cloud,
something happening on the horizon
that was Leeds, where elsewhere began,
but with a child’s scorn of the view
you were edging down, onto the horse,
wanting to gather its wonderful shape.
And there we lost it. On the spot
it was as eventful as a car-park,
just a paved clearing on a slope,
impossible to focus, all its beauty
dispersed to the winds. To soothe you
I ran back down to take a photo:
it’s a splendid one of the horse
but you’re only a hurrahing speck
in a bobble-hat, almost invisible.
Three miles away, in the car,
we looked back on its majesty,
lording it above the landscape,
a limestone lesson that to grasp
is to extinguish, the love
is strangely akin to separation.


unpublished poem, © Steve Ellis 2016, used by permission of the author

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1The Age of Innocence

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2Gardeners' Question Time

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3Recipe

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4Rubbish

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5Washing

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7Scenes From Childhood, parts 1, 2 and 4

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8The Holiday Jigsaw

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9United

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10St Francis’s ‘Cantico di frate sole’ done into Hollywood gangsterese

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11Milkman on winter mornings

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12Shoe

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13On Completing His Thirtieth Year

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14White horse

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15Genocide

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16To Ted Hughes

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17On a Royal Doulton figurine of Anne Boleyn

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19The land

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20An Old Plate’s Farewell to the Table

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21Cats listening to Cole Porter

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22Spring Collection: Crocuses / Spring Fayre / Daffodils at Baddesley

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23Slips

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24Letter to an editor

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25Wotox

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26Assembling the orrery

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27Summer ’84

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29Ancor non m’abbandona

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30Hols

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31Ad Patrem

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32On Re-Reading the Liverpool Poets

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33St Tropez: Yorkshire Impressions

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34The Bodybuilder

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35On the visible ageing of Steve Davis

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36Fish and Chips

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37Elegy on the Fishing Correspondent

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38Sending out Christmas cards

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38March 28

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40Inferno 3.22–136

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6Man of Sorrows

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18'The Angling Times'

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28The death of Joe Loss

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