40th Anniversary Feature: THE HORSE ON THE POND

Oct 16, 2013Archive, Feature

BWR Genre Editor, Fiction, 1996-1997


Cutting cordwood on the ridge
Where the wind sweeps snow
From fallen leaves and bracken,
I paused, and stood holding the saw.
Blue mountains shone
Distant in the blue air.
And at my feet an old plow horse,
Strayed from the traces,
Started across the frozen pond.
Out onto the wind-scoured ice he walked,
Tired, as old men walk home
From fields and mines, but proud,
Also like those men.
Then, full in the pond’s center,
Far from the firm ground
And the ice-crystalled drifts,
He stopped, rethinking (as it seemed)
This latest bit of folly.
He tossed his head once,
And stamped,
And plunged straight down
Out of the air and into memory.



Jim Hilgartner has published in ACM: Another Chicago Magazine, Apocryphal Text: Poetry, The Distillery, Greensboro Review, Mid-American Review, New Orleans Review, Red Mountain Review, Writing on the Edge, and elsewhere; he has twice been awarded the Fellowship in Literature from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.  He earned the MFA in creative writing at the University of Alabama, and serves as an Associate Professor of English at Huntingdon College.


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