I have seen them sleeping in the pastures,
repeated through the fields, at rest;
furious and on their knees I have seen them,
like haughty gods, completely white,
dressed and with ribbons, and wild
with manes like the loosened hair
of ancient sirens on the beaches.
The snakes have dreamed of them,
the rushes and the mothers resting
were afraid of them beneath the palm trees.
Trembling they announced battles,
announced the fear and the constancy,
like the drumroll they trotted,
like applause in a deep theater.
They saw wounds bleeding into the mud,
they died among flowers, in puddles,
visited by birds and worms.
They approached carrying men who were loved,
they approached with horrible tyrants,
covered in purple and blood.
I shall remember implacable horses:
the wild Tarpans of Russia; the Przewalski;
the hundred and twenty names of horses
there in Rome, engraved in marble;
on the Olympus of Dionysius of Argos,
with a hard pentameter on its flank,
of an aphrodisiac bronze, the horse
whose love captivated the horses
that came to the sacred grove of Altis; the one who
so loved Semiramis, queen of Asia;
those who tasted with secret pleasure--
long before the Chinese did--
the green inspired leaves of tea;
that horse constructed by Virgil
whose kind and virtuous shadow
managed to heal horses.
I shall remember in an orange sky
horses illuminated in the shadow,
anxiously uniting lovers
in peaceful grottos at a distance.
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