A Blessing

Editor’s Note: It was Richard the Third, I believe, who shouted out for a fresh horse in his last battle. From food source to pack animal, engine of war to track-race beauty, the horse has helped and inspired humankind on every continent.

When I grew up in the 1950’s, the horse was a romantic symbol of the Olde West — symbol of freedom, co-worker in cattle ranching, prize of Indian trading, and rodeo star.

I can still name all the horses of famous Hollywood cowboys, from Tom Mix to Alec Ramsey. And I still have my milk glass Hopalong Cassidy childhood mug.

I’ve spent everyday of almost 2 weeks now, going to the barn each morning to tend and keep company with Buddy, my wonderful quarter horse, who punctured a foot in the pasture and has been lame since. Yesterday and today he seemed to become much better, showing signs of boredom, applying equal weight to each leg, and generally acting more spirited.

Having Buddy as my partner and friend is the fruition of a life-long dream, since the days when I entered every annual “Free Shetland Pony (complete with saddle and bridle!!)” contest and begged my father to promise I could keep it in the backyard if I won!

I am thinking about rereading Black Beauty.  Here is one of my all-time favorite poems.


Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

James Wright


1. What is your horse dream? Give it life in unbridled prose.
2. Describe how you feel about horses in a poem tribute.
3. Write about the wild mustangs of the West, or a favorite horse from fact, fiction, or film (Trigger, Silver, American Pharoah?)


Copyrighted material. Reprinted for educational/therapeutic use.
Writing Prompts Copyright © 2015 Featherstone, All rights reserved.

Categories: Uncategorized

To a Terrorist

Editor’s Note: I am in a somber mood today. A good friend fell last week and broke her hip. My horse became very lame. The body is fragile. The weather remains lovely, but without rain.

That September 11th was like today: bright and still and warm and promising. But promises, like hearts, can easily be broken. Ask the Cherokee, the Cheyenne, the Seminole, the Apache. Remember your own broken heart. Remember how the hearts of nations, of cities, of community colleges, can be broken.

Send a prayer for the mending of all broken things.


For the historical ache, the ache passed down
which finds its circumstance and becomes
the present ache, I offer this poem

without hope, knowing there’s nothing,
not even revenge, which alleviates
a life like yours. I offer it as one

might offer his father’s ashes
to the wind, a gesture
when there’s nothing else to do.

Still, I must say to you:
I hate your good reasons.
I hate the hatefulness that makes you fall

in love with death, your own included.
Perhaps you’re hating me now,
I who own my own house

and live in a country so muscular,
so smug, it thinks its terror is meant
only to mean well, and to protect.

Christ turned his singular cheek,
one man’s holiness another’s absurdity.
Like you, the rest of us obey the sting,

the surge. I’m just speaking out loud
to cancel my silence. Consider it an old impulse,
doomed to become mere words.

The first poet probably spoke to thunder
and, for a while, believed
thunder had an ear and a choice.

Stephen Dunn



1. If your heart has been broken, write a poem to The Breaker of Hearts.
2. If you or someone you love has been injured or ill, write a poem to The Bringer of Accident or Illness.
3. If you are praying for rain, write a poem to One Who Sends Rain.
4. You get the idea — write a poem —-


Copyrighted material. Reprinted for educational/therapeutic use.
Writing Prompts Copyright © 2015 Featherstone, All rights reserved.

Categories: Uncategorized