This is a horse feather,
white, the calm of clouds.
I saw it fall from the sky
a slow dart from antiquity
swirling its habitual pattern.
Its vane gentle across my lips
its sturdy rachis could pen
a poem or two about
the process of kissing or
I wondered if the mythical animal
would part the evening sky
with its pale steady silence
turn its crimson eyes in my direction
and rapture me on moon-hooves
over the matrix of skyscrapers
wearing nothing but its ribcage
between my legs.
Nothing is impossible.
I once loved like that.
-by Diego Quiros
In Horse Feather, a mythical horse, undoubtedly Pegasus, is conjured into awareness by a musing speaker who imagines seeing one of its feathers (white, the calm of clouds) fall from the sky. The anatomy of the feather is presented with respect to the speaker’s romantic love (could pen a poem or two about the process of kissing or stammering ecstasies). In S3, the speaker delineates the power and majesty and passion of such a mythical creature that could ‘part the evening sky with its pale steady eye’ (and rapture me on moon-hooves). In the final strophe, the speaker imagines riding the horse over skyscrapers with nothing but ‘its ribcage between my legs,” and suggests that such an adventure is within the realm of possibility. In the last line the speaker divulges his hidden sentiments, revealing he once loved in the same fashion.
Horse Feather, by Diego Quiros, is a striking poem about the possibilities and limitless boundaries of love. It is a poem that begs for several readings, as it presents insights in several diverging directions. On the one hand, the poem can be read as a fantasy narrative, where the speaker muses on the passionate image of riding Pegasus over skyscrapers. Another view of the poem reveals a more subtle, perhaps melancholy desire to rise above the limits of human love and experience an altogether unbound (unearthly) love as characterized by riding this mythical creature.
The poem consists of four strophes, each with five lines. The rhythm begins fairly uniform, nearly tetrameter in the first two strophes, then half-way through, defaults to a more drawn out beat, both in sound and length of line. This shift at S3 coincides with a tone shift where the speaker becomes more open, his feelings more vulnerable.
“This is a horse feather, white, the calm of clouds,” opens the poem with a striking visual picture. It is falling from the sky, this tranquil ‘slow dart from antiquity.” Up front, the speaker wants us to know that he is really talking about Pegasus, that winged horse, sired by Poseidon, an emblem of power and grace. The name, Pegasus derives from "spring or well." Whenever the horse strikes a hoof to earth, a beautiful spring bursts forth. The metaphor aptly sets up the reader for S2 which dissects the feather into its component parts and relates them to sensual aspects of love: the vane (soft, wispy) ‘gentle across my lips; and the rachis (the part used in ink pens) ‘sturdy,’ ‘could pen a poem or two about the process of kissing,” etc.
But it is in S3 where we begin to see the inner unction of the speaker with respect to love. As well, the poetics and imagery spring more freely from the idea of the mythical animal as having superhuman abilities, both in power and beauty (part the evening sky with its pale steady silence) and in its natural proclivity to rapture (on moon-hooves across skyscrapers).
In S5 we find the culmination of such an adventure, as the speaker alludes to the naked power (ribcage) churning between his legs, a very striking and erotic metaphor which is effortlessly merged into one image. Finally, and importantly, the speaker exhales and draws back from the vision declaring, ‘nothing is impossible.” If he has loved, and loved well in the bounds of his humanity (I once loved like that), why not in the boundless sky? Why not like Pegasus, riding unbound through the heavens?
The power of this poem lies in its central proposition that love is without limits. What makes it click is that the speaker doesn’t dwell on a litany of past experience. What adds to its cohesiveness and beauty is the speaker’s confidence. The poetic, yet blunt tone. It is sufficient to merely say, “I once loved like that,” and the honesty and forcefulness of such a declaration drives the poem home like a dagger.
Diego Quiros is a poet, artist, and Electrical Engineer living with his family in South Florida. He was born in 1962 in Havana, Cuba, lived in Spain for several years, and traveled to the United States by himself at age ten.
His poetry, has been published in several issues of Ocho, Mipoesias, and Verse Libre Quarterly. Diego also co-hosted the MipoRadio show “Deconstructions”. Diego’s first collection of poems “Alchetry” (click here); a study on the four elements of writing and their relation to the four basic elements; was recently published by Goss 183 (formerly Menendez Publishing) and it is available at Books and Books and Amazon.
He credits all his work to conversations with a Muse he describes as “a woman with long dark green hair, green eyes, and light green skin”. He claims she walks around his home in South Florida and drops subtle whispers here and there while he writes.