Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Of Flexion and Rough Drafts

Last week, a friend talked about her experience riding a horse, which of course, made me wonder about the poetry possibilities, if God was the rider, and I was the horse.  I'm not sure I understand all the aspects of horse riding, but I wanted to do this experiment in real time.  I'm going to write and post the rough draft.  I'm not going to worry about how the draft is not perfect, and I'm not going to worry if the theology is perfect--or even accurate. 

I want to start with the last line of the post, which made me worry about the theology.  Many of us will protest:  how can we be the 3rd favorite?  I'm not sure.  I haven't written the poem.  Let's see how it turns out.

I'm also deciding not to use first person.  Maybe that will make it easier.

First Gretchen's post:  "It's a two post on facebook kind of night. So, here is post one. Nate and I have a lesson tomorrow and Hans was tacked up, so Nate got the night off. I had a great ride on Hans. Why was it great? Well, because I did several things that a few years ago would have been unthinkable. 1) We had a glorious canter. We just let go and had fun. (two or three years ago, his canter scared the bejeerbers out of me) 2) He picked up the counter canter and I RECOGNIZED IT! (Two years ago, of the reasons I didn't pass advanced cert was b/c I couldn't recognize that the horse was counter cantering. 3) I stopped and went back to the basics and recognized that he had NO right flexion and therefore no right lead. We went back to the walk and establlished our flexion and I did NOT just "haul on a rein" or pull his head around in an attempt to fix it. I held my outiside rein, used my inside leg and asked for flexion on the inside and waited for him to give it to me. He stopped, backed up, pouted and then gave me some nice flexion. We got flexion in both directions in a straight line and then established a nice trot and then got our true leads in both directions with correct flexion. smile emoticon A year ago, i might have recognized the wrong lead, but i wouldn't have been able to process how to fix myself or Hans. Baby steps for most of you who ride, but for me all those baby steps add up. smile emoticon onward and upward. We keep learning and growing. I do love that goofy, old, stubborn, silly warmblood. He's my (3rd) favorite horse."

And now, on to a rough draft.  As usual, I have no title.

She is the third favorite horse of God.
She wonders if she should do more to win
God's favor, and yet she understands the futility
of the thought.  And so, she waits
patiently, watching the other horses
in the stable, wondering what she should learn.

God understands the emotional lives
of the horses, and yet God cannot correct
these strange ideas that they have.  God
gives the horses a stable with the perfect
temperature, hay, medical care,
and an apple or some other treat each day.
Yet still they categorize themselves.

And then comes the perfect day, when the flexion
works as it should, when the reins take
horse and rider exactly where they need to go,
where the speed of the trot exhilarates
but does not terrify, where the jumps seem effortless.

God analyzes the riding experience in an effort
to repeat the success.  Why did this lead
pulled in this direction work, when yesterday,
God just yanked the horse's head ineffectively?

Does the horse, too, engage
in self-analysis?  Does the horse realize
that some rides are different
than others?  Does the horse plot
how to give more perfect flexion?
Does the horse pledge to trot
in a perfectly paced canter?

Tomorrow will bring a different ride,
another path which will contain
new challenges, with treats
and safe pasture at the end.

What I usually do with a rough draft is to put it away for awhile, usually months.  That's my approach when I'm doing my usual writing process, which is by hand on a legal pad--I flip the page and move to a new rough draft.

But I am happy for any feedback.  Maybe we can revise together.

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