Photo & Poem: I Cannot Know


We became strangers. I thought I knew her so
well; that place just back from her ears where her
mane flips to the other side. Her slow half-closed
eye resting in speckled shade, head low to the

flank of a gelding. Her outline in moonlight blue at
the night feed, the horse from my childhood dream
in my own barn, as solid as hooves on dirt. But in an
instant, she swung her hind around with a hard snap,

head high, a sudden snort clearing her nostrils as she
dropped the weight of domestication, her hooves sliced
the air, her weightless body wild to instinct. The herd
lifted their heads from hay in metal feeders, ears cocked,

muscles ready for flight, heeding her alert. A scent on
the breeze? Something I cannot know that she cannot
ignore, an emergency message from ancestors warning
of danger and betraying any certainty I had imagined.

Anna Blake at Infinity Farm

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Anna Blake

24 thoughts on “Photo & Poem: I Cannot Know”

  1. Oh Anna, you have such an amazing ability to capture, in so few words, the essence of the horse! I think it is what we are drawn to but then, true to our essence, we try to own it and make it ours. We feel shocked, even hurt, when our loving words and kind intentions fail to create the certainty that we desire: that we become the most important thing to them. Realizing that we’re not, and never will be, is bruising to our egos, but ultimately frees us to be drawn to them simply for who they are, exactly as they are. Thank you for the reminder!

  2. Sometimes as we travel down the trail together, I seek to view it through her eyes, walk it in her hooves, experience it with her senses, but I always seem to come up a bit short. Such an amazing sensual world she shows me! I am in awe of her magnificence!

  3. Loved this! I can so imagine this horse and how she sees, hears or even feels something far removed from my senses. It’s amazing to me how much more than us our horses are in tune with the world around them. My own horses will alert to a coyote or a deer walking in the grass at the very edges of my sight range-they not only see it but they hear and smell it, too.

  4. This sounds like me and my Rocky Mountain Horse, Jenna, after she did an all-feet-off-the-ground buck at an event when she thought the other horses in our group had left us (they had made a wrong turn and were now behind us instead of in front as they had been). I stayed on. I rode her some after that episode, but it was never the same again, and I soon downsized to my 13hh Icelandic, Scooter. I still have Jenna, but not the confidence I used to have riding her. We’re strangers now.

  5. Had to be a scent. Mares are the guardians of a herd, mares lead, the stallion follows and brings them along from a position where he can see them all, but an alpha mare leads. Nothing, absolutely nothing, startles a horse quicker or more violently than a smell, then eyes and ears work simultaneously to investigate. Danger in the breeze.

    From dozing in domesticity to flight mode in a instant, a poignant reminder, thanks Anna, this piece has real power.


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