Saturday, January 01, 2011

Oscar Bolts (Part 1) - 20 June 1971

The last time I took the cart to Castaseedie,
my old Clydesdale, Oscar, bolted
on seeing two water voles
log-running a plastic bottle in the Emmens Creek.
He was a tsunami of horse meat
dragging the cart like a comet. The broomsticks
rattled loose from their binding, and fanned-out
to disasters along the mossy granite.
Tilda’s antique brass pans and commode
in a botched cacophony as it blazed in the slipstream. In that instant I could see her face
puckering into disappointment.
I had lost over half my load.
Desperately, I leapt onto Oscar, but my take off was a fizzer,
and I fell between the horse
and the cart, only saving myself
from being ploughed under by grabbing
Oscar’s crupper.
I hung on with the strength of a mother, staring
into the horse’s palpitating arse muscle. I thought
any second now
I would be caught in the wheel’s metal rim
and dragged beneath the cart
But Oscar
stopped suddenly, ramming my nose up his ring.
A cathedral of silence heaved over the hillside. I was standing in the danger zone
with a foundation
of horse puck on my face. Up ahead, I saw why Oscar had come to a halt.
A mammoth Lawrentian pink foot
was standing in the middle of the track. It gaped wide at Oscar,
clattering its beak on the gravel
in a gesture of defence. But after a couple of minutes
I realized
it was in pain and going mad.
I saw something wedged in the side of its face.
The object was pink with black furuncles; small
and bizarrely angular. I couldn’t make out
what it was. When I approached
the bird,
it trilled like a socialist-built motorcycle
and drew a few donuts with its beak. I was worried
this would scare Oscar again, so I settled back . . .

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