5 May 2023
After Robert Muybridge
and an unknown Greek
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.