As May was opening the rosebuds,
elder and lilac beginning to bloom,
it was time for the mare to foal.
She’d rest herself, or hobble lazily
after the boy who sang as he led her
to pasture, wading through the meadowflowers.
They wandered back at dusk, bone-tired,
the moon perched on a blue shoulder of sky.
Then the mare lay down,
sweating and trembling, on her straw in the stable.
The drowsy, heavy-bellied cows
surrounded her, waiting, watching, snuffing.
Later, when even the hay slept
and the shaft of the Plough pointed South,
the foal was born. Hours the mare
spent licking the foal with its glue-blind eyes.
And the foal slept at her side,
a heap of feathers ripped from a bed.
Straw never spread as soft as this.
Milk or snow never slept like a foal.
Dawn bounced up in a bright red hat,
waved at the world and skipped away.
Up staggered the foal,
its hooves were jelly – knots of foam.
Then day sniffed with its blue nose
through the open stable window, and found them –
the foal nuzzling its mother,
velvet fumbling for her milk.
Then all the trees were talking at once,
chickens scrabbled in the yard,
like golden flowers
envy withered the last stars.