The Farrier’s Apprentice


The Farrier's Lesson by Gordon Snidow

It appears easier than it is
bent over a horse hoof balanced
snug between your knees
wielding sharp knife and coarse rasp
to nip and carve and shape and smooth
to perfect roundness.

It appears easier than it is
to soothe a horse whose ears
swivel back in judgment,
whose tail swishes your face as if
you were an annoying fly
to be flicked away.

It appears easier than it is
to not get angry when the leg
is yanked away from your grip
and a hoof stomps down on your sneakered foot
then refuses to lift up again
while you swell up sweating.

It appears easier than it is
studying experienced hands’ movement
over the haunch, the flank,
the cannon and pastern, and not envy
how such confidence demands
the respect of the horse.

It appears easier than it is
to learn an ancient trade based solely
on trust between two creatures briefly bonding,
the stronger withholding bite and kick
to yield and submit to love expressed
through the curved knife and refining rasp.

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