'The Poet and Pegasus' – First Look and Again

Patrick Walsh | Scene4 Magazine

Patrick Walsh

             for Christopher Griffin


Like Dante, I had a guide.  Emerging from the hellish heat of the gym

After rigorous sets of benching and squats, my friend,

In post-workout delirium, remembered something he felt I should see. . . .


Can a diamond be made of bronze?  I tell you: obviously.

And so obvious it seems to me that only a poet's largesse

Could bequeath to hooves a set of wings and conjure freely the Pegasus.


How long has that horse been with us?  Well, I can tell you why it lasts:

We need mirrors — and don't call it vanity, that kind of incestuous fooling

Breeds a short-lived child.  No, we make a mirror not to see our best side


But all sides.  Way back when, a man was moved and closed his eyes —

Tears, then like now.  Beauty: he could care less about credit,

Foreseeing the joy of other's joy.  It was not the horse he had taught to fly.


So there it was in two dimensions, a bas-relief in a breezeway,

A public gem on the Princeton campus dropped among bricks and slate.

But late last night I walked past it again.  Blinking, a fluorescent bulb


Cast a dim, erratic light which became the sleeping pulse of the pair.

The horse nuzzles the Poet's head, the Poet's weight to the horse;

The man holds no pen nor does the Pegasus take to the air.


Instead, they lean upon each other, sustain and buttress their form

Like the sides of a perfect triangle, the earth its vital base.

Has anything changed among horses and men?  Sculptors, poets —


They still want to put wings on them.  I walked back under stars, thinking how

There is a difference: now the reflection's no myth.  We are alone

With our creation, the horse whom we made and gave flight.



"The Poet and Pegasus" by French sculptor Émile-Antoine Bourdelle

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Patrick Walsh | Scene4 Magazine

Patrick Walsh is a writer and poet.
He writes a monthly column and is a Senior Writer for Scene4. For more of his columns and other writings, check the Archives.

©2020 Patrick Walsh
©2020 Publication Scene4 Magazine




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