Riders, Parthenon Frieze

These riders have almost no space,
caracoling from A to B,
wrist shoulder elbow hoof and knee,
the horses rearing back in place,

almost no space but endless time,
sheltered from weather, nervously
grouped in close proximity,
their cluster here a kind of home.

Where are they going? You can see
light strike the faces; they move on
out of the shadows toward dawn.
Or is that radiance sun on stone?

All of them pointed the same way,
a muscled chest, a close-clipped mane,
a mantle flung over an arm,
quivering, eager, barely reined

in. Beyond vagaries of flesh,
laughter and joking, heat and flies,
manure left steaming in the dust,
their stillness is a silent praise

distilled and captured here, contained,
snatched from time and carved and caught,
life in its restless readiness
and what remains and what does not.

Rachel Hadas

Rachel Hadas

Rachel Hadas's verse translation of Euripides' two Iphigenia plays was published in June by Northwestern University Press. A new collection, Poems for Camilla, is forthcoming in September from Measure Press.
Rachel Hadas

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Author: Rachel Hadas

Rachel Hadas's verse translation of Euripides' two Iphigenia plays was published in June by Northwestern University Press. A new collection, Poems for Camilla, is forthcoming in September from Measure Press.