Poetry: “The Weight” by Linda Gregg

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about a poem by Linda Gregg, called,”The Weight.” It is from her terrific book “Chosen by the Lion.” Linda is a wonderful poet, and along with the great, Jack Gilbert, one of my two poetry mentors. This poem has just been rolling around in my  head  so much lately, that I’d like to share it with you.


The Weight

Two horses were put together in the same paddock.
Night and day. In the night and in the day
wet from heat and the chill of  the wind
on it. Muzzle to water, snorting, head swinging
and the taste of bay in the shadowed air.
The dignity of being. They slept that way,
knowing each other always.
Withers quivering for a moment,
fetlock and the proud rise at the base of the tail,
width of back. The volume of them, and each other’s weight.
Fences were nothing compared to that.
People were nothing. They kept standing,
their throats curved against the other’s rump.
They breathed against each other,
whinnied and stomped.
There are things they did that I do not know.
The privacy of them had a river in it.
Had our universe in it. And the way
its border looks back at us with its light.
This was finally their freedom.
The freedom an oak tree knows.
That is built at night by stars.

I’d love to hear everyone’s feelings and thoughts about this poem.

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19 Comments on "Poetry: “The Weight” by Linda Gregg"

  1. kathy says:

    Linda Gregg is an incredibly talented poet, and this is one of my favorite poems of hers. The images are so evocative and dream-like. Beautiful.

  2. Carol says:

    Beautiful poem…

  3. Claudia Cron says:

    I spend a lot of time with and on horses that live outside as a herd – what a beautiful and touching poem. This could be about about true and lasting love between two people who allow their love to wash over them.

  4. Beautiful poem. It brought back memories of when I had horses. I miss getting up before daylight mucking stalls. Believe it or not I miss the smell….You could have a horrible day at work but a horse can make it all go away. Thank you.

  5. How beautiful. I love this poem. The images are so evocative and each word so carefully chosen to convey meaning. The poet has said so much with such precision and economy of language. I don’t read enough poetry and this has inspired me to read more. A poem can be a world.

    • David Leeds says:

      Sunday, this poem had really been haunting me lately.
      As you say, the conveyance of so much with so little is the job of poetry, in fact.
      I think you would love Linda’s book that this comes from. It is the way a poem is becomes a world, and good ones for me, evoke a hushed silence and awe and elevation of spirit, that is the closest I come to an attitude of prayer.

  6. metscan says:

    Dear David,
    If this is a poem, I love it. I love it because it is understandable for me too. Horses. Horses have filled my life over 30 years, still do. So satisfying to see horses on the pasture, scratching each other at the withers; started by the other and immediately followed by the other, one leading the other to those special areas that need a scrub. There is only one sight that beats this one – the beauty of seeing the mare standing beside her newborn sleeping foal. Perfect.

    • David Leeds says:

      Thanks Mette. I agree. I loved your post about going to the opera.
      The ceremony of preparation and your voice, in telling about it,
      was like reading a poem. also.

  7. Ida says:

    What great poetry have never heard of Linda Gregg,so will do some research.Ida

  8. turgay says:

    Beautiful poem.

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  10. such wonderful images, i can feel the cool starlight streaming down

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Sculptor, painter, poet. Currently living in Los Angeles and Martha's Vineyard