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Grooming the Herd in Spring

In honor of National Poetry Month, Lifetime Learning is featuring poems written by esteemed faculty all month long. The seventh poem in this series is written by William (Bill) Prindle, former Citizen Scholar in UVA’s Creative Writing Poetry Program and Charlottesville-Area Poet. Prindle has been published in multiple poetry journals across the country. See below for a complete bio. He says this about his poem:

William Prindle


“This poem rises from the daily work of tending our three horses. Of late I have given up the curry comb and brushes for the rawhide of my gloves, perhaps because they put me in more direct touch, skin to skin to skin, with these magnificent creatures. There is something deeply satisfying in giving this kind of care, something that feels like earth in one hand and life in the other. Over time it takes on sacramental quality.”


Grooming the Herd in Spring

Beneath these gloved hands
Cowhide on horsehide inseparable
The winter coats fly off in tufts
Revealing the darker the sleeker
The more radiant summer skin.

Down flanks rubbing dried mud
From hocks and fetlocks brushing
Botfly larvae from cannon bones
This heifer’s hide gives its all
In an anointing of earth to earth.

Tonight out in the eastern paddock
They graze on in watery darkness
Invisible yet shining with a patina
That only open-handed love knows
How to coax again when the rain
and the new mud come.

Raven and Ruby Horses
Raven and Ruby

William (Bill) Prindle is a Charlottesville-area poet who has been published in the Pennsylvania Review journal, Hiraeth Press’ Written River journal, Echo World magazine, and Tupelo Press’ 30 Days: Best of the 30/30 Project’s First Year. He was won awards from the Poetry Society of Virginia, and has studied with Robert Bly, Jeffrey Levine, Sharon Olds, Gregory Orr, and C.K. Williams. He lives in Troy, Virginia with his wife Rosalyn Berne and their three horses.