Marilyn Longstaff lives in Darlington and is a member of Vane Women. Her work has appeared in a number of magazines, anthologies and on the web. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University and has had published 5 books of poetry.
The black horse John
Always beware the quiet ones my mother said
muttering something about hidden depths,
still waters and dark horses.
Unlike an Arab stallion, according to my dad,
John had no rump; needed a belt
to hold his trousers up.
I couldn’t say he raced into my life in 1968,
maybe trotted quietly, tossing his faintly curling mane –
long, with auburn lights; blinkered, myopic,
Mona Lisa smile.
My parents should have listened to their own advice.
While they were fantasising Christian weddings
with fiery Geoff or beaming Dave or sober Stuart,
the black horse, John, remained invisible,
galloped below their radar, nuzzled his dark way
into my affections.
note: Alioth Al-Jawn – Arabic, ‘black horse’; can also be translated as a star name.
Poem published in Articles of War (see below)
The Museum of Spare Parts, 2018, Mudfog, £5
Articles of War, 2017, Smokestack Books, ISBN 978-0-9934547-6-9, £7.99
Raiment, 2010, Smokestack Books, ISBN 978-0-9564175-4-1, £7.95
Sitting Among The Hoppers, 2004, ISBN 978-1-9048520-5-6, £7.50
Puritan Games, 2001 , Vane Women Press, ISBN 0-9522349-9-8, £4
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