• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 02
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The October Horse

this year's
harvest end
sword and scythe washed
sharpened and put away
a farmer is a soldier

in blood of war

in grain gather

blown field of tall golden heads
are horses' manes at a gallop

hard breathing horse
that pulls the chariot that wins
is a gust through the grains
in a dual yoke,

right-hand horse that wins
is strongest animal,
a potent sacrifice
felled by a sacred spear

offered to Battle Changer,
boss of war and bloodshed,
agriculture and virility


The October Horse

as corn decapitated
so this horse

blood of its head
for one hearth

blood of its tail
for another

some tail blood
kept for next April's
burning festival

horses' tails
on battle helmets
give wearer animal

pendant of bread
and ribbons

hung round
dead horse's head
portion of the inedible sacrifice
retained, garnished with an everyday food
for us


The October Horse

used to be, when farmers
placed a skull

of an unchaste
horse or ass
on their land
to help grain grow