canadian ~ twenty-first century literature since 1999

Parthenon Stallion's Head
For Mathieu Barbeau

by Stephen Brockwell

November 5  Drew at Lord Elgin's  6 hours. My taste
thank God is improved wonderfully.
XXXXBenjamin Robert Haydon

Difficult to find the way to Athens
XXWithout hooves to gallop on down the steps
XXOf the British Museum. A boy stops
With his notebook and a box of coloured pens
XXTo learn to draw you, plundered monument
XXXXOf the exhausted empire. He opens
XXXXXXThe box of pens and stares. He's not content

To draw your head on the marble pedestal;
XXIt is the entire horse he sees: the stallion
XXNever sculpted, pulling a champion
Out of the sea, with bronze spear armed for battle,
XXA chariot with a single bronze wheel,
XXXXAnd two short, sturdy legs for you to run on.
XXXXXXOut you'll go in his notebook. For a while

The boy will hang you on his locker door.
XXBut by the time he's twelve, something he heard
XXHis teacher say about perspective, a word
Or two about learning to draw what's there
XXWill make him take the dog-eared paper down.
XXXXBack to the museum he'll come, stand here
XXXXXXAnd draw you, a horse's head of polished stone.

XXXXYour eyes are black. He sees your nostrils flare.

Stephen Brokwell's second book, Cometology, was published by ECW in spring 2001. This poem is from a new manuscript "The Rage of History". Stephen lives in Ottawa with his family and works at Autodesk, an automated design company.







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