horse on high street

by Margaret Tsuda

Image: Newark Mounted Police via nj.com
Image: Newark Mounted Police via nj.com

On a commonplace
workday weekday
I was startled at the sight
of a horse on High Street
stepping out with Lippizaner grace
into the frenzied stream of
mechanized morning traffic
so that the patrolman
astride him could oversee
the safe passage of
three small schoolchildren.

What a handsome beast is the horse!
How generously he has lent
his strength/his fleetness to man!
Small wonder that the Attic Greeks—
lovers of beauty
tamers of the horse
sailors of the sea—
seeing the tossing of many manes
in the powerful plunge
of Aegean waves over sandbars
gave to their sea-god, Poseidon
the epithet, Hippias
Lord of the Horse.

The next day there was
no horse on High Street.
The friendly blue-garbed school guard
watched for the children.
But I still remember a
workday weekday made
uncommon/classic
for me
just by the sight of a horse.

Longtime resident Margaret Tsuda included this poem in Urban River, published in Newark in 1976.

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