Eighth Century Horse on Leaf of Handscroll

By on Oct 25, 2020 in Poetry

"Night-Shining White" by Han Gan

“Night-Shining White” by Han Gan (ca. 750)

Tiny threads of rein and bridle
look as if added in a later world
to arrest his bucking head, to calm
his terror-filled eye, white-haloed.
He is the very picture of fear
and is tethered to a pole
so his four feet, levitated for flight,
are frozen in time. Could I know
what frightens him if this print
were more than detail,
if the characters of black brush stroke
and red pictorial stamps
were of my time and language?
The story reflected in his eye
is mine, though, speaks that moment
when all is not as we long held.


Carol Hamilton has recent publications In Louisiana Review, Tribeca Poetry Review, Boston Literary Review, Iodine Poetry Review, Bluestem, I-70 Review, U.S.1 Worksheet, Colere, Lilliput, Flint Hills Review, Hubbub, Blue Unicorn, Sow's Ear Poetry, District Lit, Haight Ashbury Poetry Journal, Texas Poetry Calendar and others. She has published 17 books: children's novels, legends and poetry, the latest being Such Deaths. She is a former poet laureate of Oklahoma and has been nominated five times for a Pushcart Prize.