The Cariboo Horses
author: Fed
status: member
date: 2008.01.27 14:40



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Hello everyone, I was recently introduced to this forum by a good friend of mine and to say the least, I am very excited and pleased to see such an extensive and helpful place for both new and experienced poets. Up until a few months ago I had very little interest in poetry in general. However, my friend has been showing me various works by poets such as Blake and I am starting to really understand and appreciate both the complexity and originality behind the art of poetry. Unfortunately, that is exactly my problem. I have made several attempts to start writing poetry of my own, and to say the least, it has not been going very well. There are so many techniques and styles used in poetry and being fairly new to it all, I am quite lost. My friend has been helping me quite a bit but I would love to get the opinions and analyses of any of you who are willing to help. I was recently told to write an explication on any poem I found interesting. Being a Canadian I ended up choosing to focus on Al Purdy's "The Cariboo Horses". I have tried researching both the poem and general poetry techniques countless times but I am a bit stuck. If any of you could offer some of your expertise on this poem to help out someone inexperienced, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

The Cariboo Horses
At 100 Mile House the cowboys ride in rolling
stagey cigarettes with one hand reining
half-tame bronco rebels on a morning grey as stone
-so much like riding dangerous women
with whiskey coloured eyes-
such a women as once fell dead with their lovers
with fire in their heads and slippery froth on thighs
-Beaver or Carrier women maybe or
Blackfoot squaws far past the edge of this valley
on the other side of those two toy mountain ranges
from the sunfierce plains beyond
But only horses
waiting in stables
hitched at taverns
standing at dawn
pastured outside the town with
jeeps and fords and chevvys and
busy muttering stake trucks rushing
importantly over roads of man's devising
over the safe known roads of the ranchers
families and merchants of the town
On the high prairie
are only horse and rider
wind in dry grass
clopping in silence under the toy mountains
dropping sometimes and
lost in the dry grass
golden oranges of dung

Only horses
no stopwatch memories or palace ancestors
not Kiangs hauling undressed stone in the Nile Valley
and having stubborn Egyptian tantrums or
Onagers racing thru Hither Asia and
the last Quagga screaming in African highlands
lost relatives of these
whose hooves were thunder
the ghosts of horses battering thru the wind
whose names were the wind's common usage
whose life was the sun's
arriving here at chilly noon
in the gasoline smell of the
dust and waiting 15 minutes
at the grocer's


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