When we can’t look at each other, eye-to-eye,
I think of horses sidling up to each other,
shying away from each other,
how horses stand like strangers,
eyes on the side of their long heads.
Look into the ball of the eye, slit
horizontal like a letter box,
so unlike our own round pupil;
inside you will find a blind
pulled over its blazing star.
Beside my bed stand four carved horses:
a Spanish horse of pink quartz,
as highly polished as the shoes of a tango dancer;
a yellow horse, heavy and translucent
as a solid sea, with a heart-line of turquoise;
an ancient horse of marble that doesn’t look
like a horse, inscribed with petroglyphs
from the south west;
light shines through my precious amber horse,
as if through fossilized honey.
There is a gentleness between them,
these horses of the herd.
It’s not a question of beauty or resemblance:
to the Zuni a fetish is only of value if it works.
I feed them cornmeal. I need their strength.
by Sharon Morris
from False Spring (2007)
The poems in Sharon Morris’s first collection are both meditations on mortality and nature, and sharp edged celebrations of life – in turn tender, incantatory, dramatic, quotidian and elegiac. The three sections describe three different places, metaphorically and geographically: in ‘False Spring’ the poet takes us out into the open spaces, the wildernesses at the edge of the city of San Francisco, touching on the myth of Persephone. This mythic thread is carried on through ‘Rome’, where the city’s overlaid histories parallel the tension between what is revealed and what is hidden, while the final section ‘Salt of Almonds’, through the image of the desert in Spain, speaks of what will persist and endure.
Sharon Morris was born in west Wales and studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, where she is currently a senior lecturer. She has exhibited photography, film and video, and performed live artworks bringing together spoken text and projected images. Having completed a PhD in 2000 on the relation between words and images, referring to writer H.D. and artist Claude Cahun, she continues to write on semiotics, visual theory and poetics, for which she received a Leverhulme research fellowship in 2003. Her poems have appeared in several journals and anthologies, including Tying the Song (Enitharmon, 2000), the first anthology from The Poetry School, and In the Company of Poets (Hearing Eye, 2003).
Founded in 1967, Enitharmon Press publishes fine quality literary editions. While specialising in poetry, we also publish fiction, essays, memoirs, translations, and an extensive list of artists’ books.