Northwords Now Issue 35

The FREE literary magazine of the North

The Gift

by Kenneth Stephen

That night they knew the foal would be born.
They went down, she and he, with all the day done –
the summer in heat and the night skies still,
A blue like the shallows of a white shell cove
and the bats about them with pattering wings.  
They went down, the quiet easy between them,    
till suddenly the whole moon broke from the hilltop –
scarred and shining. They stopped to watch, faces filled  
as the moon rose up like some balloon and held       
there in the silent skies. Only then they went on    
to the hollow where the pear trees grew, and the scent
rose sweet. There before them the mare and foal:       
he staggered to his feet, the strangeness of those stilts,
and she mothering him, tender and slow, her eyes          
full of him, giving and giving her tongue               
to bring him complete to this world, to this life.      
And the girl and the man knelt down, for this           
was bigger than they understood.