Horses are emblems of freedom and power—the domesticated brought to epic proportions. I love how the power of a horse is lent to humans over time, yet that gift can (and often will) turn at the moment of broken trust. This dynamic ties freedom to an understanding of other—the horse will give you strength and speed, height and size, but in return it requires kindness, care, and resources. I can’t help but feel that the relationship between writing, writers, and readers is very similar to a horse and its rider.
Ann E. Michael’s chapbook The Capable Heart guides readers through the relationship between horses and people. She shows how horses are often mirrors to the self—how they train humans how to be humane. Here is an example:
I know horses, but I’m better acquainted with horse people. My dearest friend, Sarahbell, has an easier time talking to horses than people; somehow, this makes her easier to trust. She has promised to teach my son how to ride a horse—I know he will learn more from her about kindness in a couple of hours than I could teach him in a lifetime.
My son’s good friends, Zoe and Leif, are horse kids. They know and love horses. We invited them over to help make poetry cards out of Ann E. Michael’s chapbook to give to horses. It was Zoe’s idea that we should have a parade too. We paraded the dirt streets of our home in the AV looking for horses. We found them. And a goat. The goat even tried to follow us home, that’s how great poetry is—especially the poetry of The Capable Heart.