Saturday, April 17, 2010
The Horse ~
("The Horse" text is by my grandmother, Sarah Belle Dutton, a little essay written when she was a schoolgirl. Maybe it's just me, but when I read it, I felt like she was writing about herself as much as about horses. I set the text into the form of a prose poem. The horse is a reoccurring motif in You'll Always Come Back - much to my surprise. I didn't realize it until all the source texts were assembled and all the songs were composed. If this text had one meaning to a woman in the 19th century, it has another, related but different meaning, to a slave.)
The horse is a fine animal
about five feet high and of various colors
He is a proud-looking creature,
when he gets loose from his keepers
he prances up and down as if stepping on air.
The horse is not only the most noble of brutes
he is also one of the most useful
He carries people on his back, draws a heavy load,
a plow, or a carriage.
He thus lends to man his great speed and his
He can swim as well as most other animals
although he is not very fond of water.
In South America and some other countries
there are troops of wild horses, which grow up in the forests
When wild they are very quick-witted
in everything necessary to their support and safety;
but when these creatures are rendered tame
and live under the protection of man,
they seem to lose their faculties for want of
exercise and become stupid.
They are not called upon to use their wits
and by disuse almost lose them;
but it is this change in their natures
that renders them useful and manageable
If they retained their fierceness and cunning
that belongs to them when wild,
they would not patiently submit to be the helpers of man.