Moya Cannon

Collected Poems​

ISBN: 978 1 800170 32 2
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: February 2021
216 x 135 mm
256 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press

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Vogelherd Horse, 30,000 BC

Art, it would seem, is born like a foal that can walk straight away.
John Berger

The horse is half the length
of my little finger —
cut from mammoth ivory
its legs have been snapped off,
three at the haunch,
the fourth above the knee
but its neck, arched as a Lippizaner’s,
its flared nostrils,
are taut with life.

The artist or shaman who carved it
as totem, ornament or toy
could hardly have envisioned
that horses would grow tall,
would be bridled, saddled,
that of all the herds of mammoths,
lords of the blond steppes,
not one animal would survive,
that the steppes would dwindle,
that, in the stacked mountains to the south,
rivers would alter course

but that this horse would gallop on
across ten thousand years of ice,
would see the deaths, the mutations of species
would observe the burgeoning of one species,
Homo faber, the maker,
who had made him,
or, who, using a stone or bone knife,
had sprung him from the mammoth’s tusk,
had buffed him with sand,
taking time with the full cheeks, the fine chin,
and had set him down on the uneven floor
of the Vogelherd cave
to ride time out.