quinta-feira, 8 de dezembro de 2016

The Last Tarpan (tales of human cruelty)

(jotted this down while reading Susana Forrest's new book, The Age of the Horse: an Equine Journey through Human History; it is roughly based on a story she tells and was meant to come as a poem, which didn´t quite work..)

Against the snow of the steppes, and the earth beginning again to bleed, a small dun creature makes her way through cracked ravines where the long-legged mounts of men rough and drunken on ale and power find no passage.  In an earlier season, she has been duped:  her herd wiped out, she is coaxed through her loneliness, by the call of a stallion, by whinnying mares, into their distant human hell. Taken, she delivers her furies against the board of the stall that retains her, against her captors who marvel and curse, that she-devil, that witch-animal.  Yet they covet her hybrid offspring, the foals she bears on long stalks of straw, the fine blood of the stallion thinning the legs and the muzzle of a rough-bellied hostage who never gives up.  They have needed her: a splendid field for the art of pursuit, for the sport of sequester, for cunning experiment.

When they bring her back from her final escape, damaged, they feel of course some flare of regret:  not for the broken bones, nor the disappearance of some indomitable tribe;  rather, for that intractable element that will be gone forever, something that has shown them all they are not, all they will never be.  They try to mend her, but in her final breath, she denies them that pleasure.

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