For Judith and her dancing horses
Immersed in noble silence, walking phase
I find myself settling down
To a twenty-meter circle
(Human scale, five)
My neck bends, my back lifts
My vision broadens and narrows to this circle
I see the walls pass but I do not look
I am focus.
Each step considered as it happens
My steps, my breath, my pulse tuned to the circle.
This is important. This matters.
Getting this right. Getting the pace, the arch, the lift.
I pale. I become pearl.
(No, too cool, too blue. I am life.)
I am ivory, I am bone, I am warm white.
Built of life, built for life, for strength.
Chronicled in rings, the tale of my becoming holds me, lifts me.
I am light. I am the statue in motion, the perfection of form.
I am become eternity.
This is the quest, to find this perfection in motion, in silent practice.
The beat of heart, or hoof, echoes. But inside, the clack of the wheel as it moves another notch, smoothly forward. Felt, not heard. Noticed. Acknowledged. Carried in, carried on.
Here, I am aware of the world, I see it passing. See other walkers, intent on nonthought. See leaf shadows flicker.
But I am of the world and yet entire in myself.
I think–I do think, I should not think, I should be–I understand why we come here.
Why women mount and ride in twenty-meter circles.
We seek rhythm. We seek control. We seek measured pace, measured step.
We seek the rhythm of poetry moving at a brisk two-beat working trot, at the rocking three-beat canter.
We seek small perfections, those moments when pace and arch and intention flow into that exquisite moment
And flow on
To the next instant of perfection.
I bring myself to a halt.
Neck bent, nostrils wide to catch the world around me.
One ear flickers. A question.
I gather myself, I lift.
All strength poured into perfection
All motion into immobility.
I am art. I hold, hold, still.
The veins pulse the nostrils flare the muscles begin to flutter, and I sink down.
From the pedestal of two legs to the plateau of four.
And I rest. Triumphant, but stilled. I have had the moment, the posture, the expression of force enraptured en levade.
And then I step forth.
Step again into the circle. Into the wheel that spins the world.
The twenty meters where the world is borne, spun, clothed, woven, stirred, swept.
Where the women find their place.