Riders, Parthenon Frieze

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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.