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5 May 2023



Full Moon


May 19th

Broken Centaur

Apr 20th

After Robert Muybridge

and an unknown Greek

(c.530 BC)

                        Legs beneath barrel, the bloodstock floats

                        in some frames, not one hoof to earth:

                        I think often of Muybridge’s pictures.

                        Not one hoof to earth.

                                                                 But a broken centaur,

                        no GIF, no gallop, less than a hand high, six legs

                        short a horse and rider, is really a bronze

                        lolly on a steel swizzle stick, less Pegasus

                        than peg-leg. Did I think he floated?

                        Back limbs snapped at the gaskins, front

                        at the chestnut, he rides a pole; he clears

                        this shelf like cobs clear carousels’ turntable

                        floors. No object card says who broke

                        this chiron. But next to his legs, metal

                        in a soapdish: cast of runt pencil, cast of bent

                        straw, cast of Luckies smoked to the quick.

Behind the poem...

The subject of the poem is a photo of a small bronze statuette – a centaur, none of its legs intact – tweeted by an account I follow on Twitter. Struck by the workaround (a single peg-leg), I was a little haunted, too, by how this sculpture floats, heavily; almost like the stop-motion photographs Robert Muybridge took of a horse galloping: proof that all of the creature’s hooves leave the ground when it runs.

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