Hay Day

Beautiful, the fourteen-hundred-pound round

bale of sweet brome the grower and I roll

from the back of his truck against the usual tree.

The geldings can hardly contain themselves.

They smelled and came running across the field

and now they look and nicker, and move in

even before I can cut loose the four long

bands of twine from the edge, where they nip instead

the greenest, sweetest stuff from the wound center

of the man-high wheel of it. They feed there

for most of an hour, long after I’ve written the check

and the hay man’s made his way back home

and it being August I relax on the porch

with a beer my wife brought home from town

and, knowing my usual routine on such days, slipped

into the freezer until just minutes ago, so that

I might sit and watch the horses, having had

all they want, move in slow circles around

the great black walnut’s vast expanse of shade,

then stop — BJ, the troublesome elder, and Red,

the beautiful, genuinely exceptional ride —

as always in the same precise relation to one another

(Red at forty-five degrees and a little back) —

before taking off around the fence line

at a trot, then a canter, and then, for just a few

beautiful moments, a dead and joyful run.

Robert Wrigley lives with his wife, the writer Kim Barnes, and their children, on the Clearwater River in Idaho. His most recent collection of poetry is Earthly Meditations: New and Selected Poems, published by Penguin in 2006. “Hay Day” originally appeared in New South: Georgia State University’s Journal of Art & Literature. Copyright © 2009 Robert Wrigley. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Photo credit: Matt Valentine.

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hay and horses...could anything be better!!!

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