E
Jan/Feb 2001 Poetry

Knight On Horseback, statue sculpted 1987, in the Hofstra Commons, summer

by Frank Van Zant


 

Knight On Horseback, statue sculpted 1987, in the Hofstra Commons, summer

Their nearness to battle is apparent,
with horse's jaw twisted,
front hooves flashing forward,
with knight looking askance,
his sword unsheathed,
his lips and eyes sculpted blankly
thus suggesting a fierceness,
a willingness to go, to pride himself, to fight.

The knight's helmet is not atop,
hanging on his shoulder blades like a backpack
- and there it is - backpack,
the reason I noticed this at all:
this is a statue of me carrying my baby,
the backpack holding my boy, now one.

We were sculpted while walking the neighborhood
looking for stories to tell,
and I am his horse, his clompity-clomp,
the knight's is my posture, the rearward helmet is my boy.

My boy is my mask, my armor,
the winged aegis who names me in advance,
who says to you we'rehere we'rehere we'rehere riding
past your house, looking askance, catching
sidewalk scenes, knowing admirers will gape,

and my father is now the horse of clay, who rears and buckles,
kicks wildly in fear to throw me off, loosening
to be alone in the hills again, to be free of training and duty,
to lose his shoes, wandering,
chewing what he prefers.

 

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