Ende's Busephalus Responsa
In the footsteps of Alexander the Great
I too rode my Bucephalus
Two millenia later
Along the Santorini shoreline at Eros Beach
Rearing up like a bronzed statue
To equine antiquity
Astride a well-trained Andalusian steed
The perfect war horse for cavalry mounts
Whose ancestors carried conquering Macedonians
From Thrace to Persia
Heroic exploits exceeding even
Mythic Perseus and Pegasus
As I cantered alongside limestone cliffs
Awash in the timeless spray foam of the Aegean Sea
Bruce Jacobs is a retired educator and administrator with the Toronto District School Board. He is currently a keyboard player with the motown/funk band One King.
It's All About the Horse
Do you see him, standing so still
on that narrow balcony?
His moonlit silver coat gleams
contrasting with the dull
red brick of my ordinary house,
both skyborne, both in my dreams.
I know that man who tumbles earthward now
He surprised me on the balcony,
tried to steal my steed,
but no, my dream horse threw him off.
Only I can ride him
Astride, together, we will
cross the sky, over trees,
away from the ordinary.
We will leap across the lake of tears
Leaving behind the man, leaving all
who seek to hurt me
with words, with deeds.
I feel no pain when I ride.
Even looking at him lifts me
I see his supple muscles
ripple as he breathes,
his power, waiting for me.
When we ride, I have power too.
Yes, it’s all about the horse.
Joan Leotta loves to play with words on page and stage. Her poetry has appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, Verse Visual, Verse Virtual, among others. Her short stories, articles, and essays are also widely published. On stage she performs tales of food, family, and strong women. When not haunting art galleries for inspiration, she wanders the beach, cooks, and spends hours talking and laughing with family and friends. Her chapbook, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon is out from Finishing Line Press.
Fall from the Horse of War, 1961
Edgar Ende, forced to stop painting
by Germany in 1936, conscripted as a gunner,
has a man, naked, fall from Alexander’s horse
corralled in a balcony on the Berlin Wall.
Surrealist dreams wait through nights
for the first cup of coffee when chairs
are set out at the cafe while your bed
sweats twenty years of artillery blasts.
A year after the building of the wall,
we worry the Cuban Missile Crisis
90 miles from the coast of Florida
and the haunt of Hemingway.
A warrior loses his stage and the dialog
between two men and a beautiful woman
in For Whom the Bell Tolls centres around
how many horses needed to get out alive.
We hide under desks not far from the coast,
only obtain a white horse if we chase
it across a field and ride three on its back,
still young enough we’re not a burden.
A rifle brings down what motors by
the book depository in a convertible,
wakings now riddled with metal shards
before we board the bus for school.
Kyle Laws is based out of Steel City Art Works in Pueblo, CO where she directs Line/Circle: Women Poets in Performance. Her collections include Ride the Pink Horse (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019), Faces of Fishing Creek (Middle Creek Publishing, 2018), This Town: Poems of Correspondence with Jared Smith (Liquid Light Press, 2017), So Bright to Blind (Five Oaks Press, 2015), and Wildwood (Lummox Press, 2014). With eight nominations for a Pushcart Prize, her poems and essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Germany. She is the editor and publisher of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press.
The Beginning of the Ende
a bottomless web
The horse has a shadow, but it casts from no apparent light source. No path appears between staying and going. Reversed, his vision seems frozen.
What he sees—is it profound or just strange? No time to brood about meaningless questions when all life has fallen away.
He considers wings, creature wings, human wings, and they open in his mind with a stunned shattering, a magnetic pull of man to horse, a merging of elements rising towards the consuming fire of creation.
replenished by time
A resident of New York City, Kerfe Roig enjoys transforming words and images into something new. Follow her explorations on her blogs, https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/ (which she does with her friend Nina), and https://kblog.blog/, and see more of her work on her website http://kerferoig.com/
So rare as window, psyche drawn -
they speak of mesmerising frame -
internal shadow laid afore,
from fearful eye, flit cloak withdrawn,
turn sunlight beaming, morning star,
so stallion tamed, but not the mind.
The surreal, Surreal classed,
Spiegel im Spiegel, mirror work,
not art prefabricated, stored;
haunch to wall, blue eyed from foal,
the two, both Great and Head of Ox
association, myth in mix.
Kafka, Baron, Father Brown,
the mare of night, tall story, bike,
this name has long been borrowed, worn
by fiction, mystery, old lore,
then told, one generation more,
by Michael, other Ende on.
This artist told he cannot paint,
express himself, what’s in his brain;
as war destroyed his oeuvre past,
is this the mighty hemmed, cross barred,
or Plato’s cave, where shades are played?
Like funnel flag of shipping line
or white, black field, as terror sign -
identity - so twinkle’s where?
What exploits, epic tales hear groan,
who brims in head, unstable, door,
unbolted view, dark horse alleged,
free fall of man - how Kafkaesque -
Bucephalus, rein unrestrained?
Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had over 160 pieces published by on-line poetry sites, including The Ekphrastic Review, printed journals and anthologies. https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/
To Edgar Ende Regarding The New Bucephalus
The French, their films, reborn untamed
historic place in art had claimed
-- the human tale more coarsely told
as if transmuting base to gold
from veins of raw emotion mined
for pyrite of ironic find
to play upon illusive stage
as mirrored lustre to engage
the mind in wisdom twice retold
becoming lesson taking hold
much like your fabled horse as toy
that represents the pain and joy
untamed becoming lured descent
beyond the roar of discontent.
Portly Bard: Old man.
Prefers to craft with sole intent
of verse becoming complement...
...and by such homage being lent...
ideally also compliment.
O Captain’s child
bestride atomic Bucephalus
broken and slouched
your lance unready
tilting at viral windmills
riding ever downwards
proclaiming “the world is flat”
the fearful storm return’d
and your compass has been lost
so you ride boldly ride
your course is already set
down the ramp of history
to face a false foe
and how we fell far short
of any victory deserved
Mark A. Fisher
Mark A. Fisher is a writer, poet, and playwright living in Tehachapi, CA. His poetry has appeared in: riverbabble, Spectrum, Silver Blade, Penumbra, Lummox, and many other places. His first chapbook, drifter, is available from Amazon. His second, hour of lead, won the 2017 San Gabriel Valley Poetry Chapbook Contest.
Tonight, an air-raid sky, streaking Prussian ink.
out of woods, imagined flares light my free-
fall into blues.
You could stop me if you whinnied, reared up,
braying some alarm to spirit me back. But you
unmoved by sound or shadow, so calm within
a peacetime cage.
You wait there, bronzed, as I spiral, naked as
at birth. You let
me plunge headfirst, hands out to darkness.
No parachute is
opening to cloak the crash onto rust-flecked
below where starved crows or buzzards twist
my artist's guts until there’s just some pecked
And I am nothing, except what’s left in you.
Based in the United Kingdom, Dorothy Burrows enjoys writing flash fiction, short plays and poetry. This year her poems have been published on various webzines including Words for the Wild, Another North, The Ekphrastic Review and Failed Haiku.
In the dream
he tries to mount an untamable horse,
tumbles again and again,
like Sisyphus doomed
to endless, timeless struggle,
through the turning of days, years,
empires ascend and wane,
shimmer briefly--like stars--to fall
into a black hole,
where upside down becomes right side up.
Even so, the dream is immutable,
caught on canvas--
as the world revolves again
under the glimmering echoes of light that was,
galloping toward what might be
a chimera, a challenge, or a vision.
Merril D. Smith
Merril D. Smith is a poet and historian. Her poetry and stories have appeared recently in Rhythm & Bones, Vita Brevis, Streetlight Press, Ghost City, Twist in Time, Mojave Heart Review, Wellington Street Review, Blackbough Poetry, and Nightingale and Sparrow.
By an embellished crown blazing
And grandiose breastplate
Underlined with tunic blue
Regalia passed down to the eldest
With divine right to rule
He relishes in bardic rhythm
The singing clash of swords
Composing a kingly epic
Riding higher than the common man
All must look up in exaltation
This touch of heaven
Will lift him to legend
Pride squarely measured
In blood stained pawns
Corpses evidence his power
Nothing can cage this vision
Until pain blemishes royal blue
Failing equilibrium shifts prophecy
As he reaches out for the earth
Life conquered in coursing red
Still the final thought
Of his spinning mind proves true
“A king does not die”
Widows will tell stories of the king’s hubris
Remembered for generations
Forever the fallen angel
Naked in his ambition
Amanda Chandler’s muse kindles her passion for poetry and education. She believes the most important lessons in life can rarely be found in a textbook. This is why she shares her experience and distinct perspective through poetry (even when it makes her feel vulnerable) hoping others may dare to do the same.
That’s always going to be you, that man falling. For just half a moment, forget that ’94 ever happened, forget that there was no way out of that one.
For now, behave as if there were half a hundred ways that whole thing could have played out that would have ended well. Believe they all would have ended well for you and for them.
Yes, that’s still you falling, but why is it now? Is it because of the first one, or maybe because of your mother? Is it the latest one, and just because she doesn’t want you?
Are you still falling regardless of which of any of these women choose anyone other than you?
Are you so far gone that you yourself are gone? The crown has been uncrowned, the seat usurped, and here you are left with nothing but the truth—all of it.
This is what you said you were always willing to live in full admission of…yet here you are damning at and hating it, wanting to go back farther and farther until…what?—until that isn’t you falling to your death?
Stop re-writing where he’s going! He’s dying, he’s not being delivered from a grim fate, he’s not being reborn, he’s not saved by the horse that’d once been his only friend.
It’s questionable whether that “friend” is even looking on anymore, or if he’s got his sights set on another he’d like to befriend.
The point is: you’re still falling. You’re going, going, going—gone! And this time you’ve no say in how this plays out. You have all the time in the world to consider and reconsider everything and everyone at every possible moment you were alive and you dreamed and were slain by them.
But you are on your way to death and you still see your end as coming from without—from them!—instead of from within: you!
You took it too much to heart, all of it. None of them were “the one” and none of them wanted to be. Even those who thought it over, who might’ve even said yes, even they would have changed their minds about you.
A curse is not a collection of poor choices—that would be your life. And now, your death is only the admission that these were your choices that never felt like choices in the moment. It’s not ’94, fine…it’s all of them, every one of them. But not any of these women in and of themselves—it’s what you did and what you said in convincing yourself you were nothing without them.
The old man said they would be your downfall, and of course, why not take him literally this time. The only other time he was right was when he said you were your own worst enemy. Of course, of course.
Garth Ferrante is a complete unknown who writes and makes games out of challenging his own creativity. He writes because he loves to, because he finds meaning and purpose in it, because if he didn’t, life would be lifeless.
The New Bucephalus
The New Bucephalus stands.
No color in him now,
Gone is Philoneicus’s wildhorse,
The once shadow-shy and mighty
Favored mount of Alexander,
See how he is thrown,
The king of Macedon is thrown,
Ever-earthward into the canopy,
The New Bucephalus stands
In a suspended UFO stall,
A balcony-penned alien
Unscared of its shadow.
Ian Evans is an emerging writer and middle school teacher with his B.A. in English and an Ed.M. in Secondary English Education. He is co-author of "The Mechanic," a graphic poem. He lives in Highland Park, New Jersey, with his wife, who is also a writer and teacher.
A naked man and his naked horse
run away from his house one midnight.
The horse can sprout invisible wings,
and fly. They flew high above the ground,
far away from the man’s house,
away from the man's wife and son,
and all responsibilities.
He wanted to be free.
Free like his naked horse which flies.
The naked horse wanted to be free
of the naked man.
Searching for escape, they find
a floating palace mid-air, a golden palace.
The naked man and the naked horse
walk inside to find the rooms painted
in blocks of colours. Light blue, indigo,
blood red, orange. The naked horse
absorbed its wings back.
They went out the balcony
to look at the sight outside.
Dawn was approaching. Hedges
and trees and shrubs and hills turned
from black to dark green.
The green of the earth and the blue of the sky
were now separating
from the one whole black they were earlier.
From the balcony, they saw
a huge mass of smoke rising.
The sun rose to see
dense dirty brown smoke coiling like
thousands of pythons mating in mud,
going up higher, and higher...
Suddenly sparks appeared
within the coil.
The naked animals saw orange,
deep orange fire-like thing
created inside the fury of the mating dance.
Then suddenly, a huge boom… !
The world was white for a moment,
everything miles around it destroyed,
even the palace
the naked animals were at.
Only a bit of the palace was left floating.
The the balcony could fit
only one animal now.
The naked horse kicked
the naked man off. The horse should have flown,
the man should have been on the balcony.
But the horse kept standing
on the piece of concrete afloat.
The naked man fell head on,
downwards, (gravity doing its work,)
thinking of his wife and his son,
and the ultimate freedom which
all animals find in the end,
whether they want it, or not.
The naked man’s wife and son died
in the blast the naked creatures witnessed,
the wife unaware of her husband’s running away,
the son not knowing of his father’s abandonment.
They died loving him.
The naked man swam to his life
having landed on water, and not concrete.
It was Ammonium Nitrate, they said,
- that caused the ruin.
Not nature’s fury,
nor an alien attack,
but faulty storage of
an otherwise harmless chemical,
which used properly
would have fertilized the soil
making it more productive,
benefiting the land.
The opposite happened.
Carelessness caused the fiasco.
Carelessness, which was felt upto 150 miles.
Carelessness, and 5000 people hurt.
Carelessness, and 135 lives lost.
What price to pay for carelessness!
So much loss for nothing!
The naked man all clothed now,
is bound by the human chain again,
searching for another wife,
wishing for another son.
The winged horse flew away
Susma Sharma Gurumayum
Susma Sharma Gurumayum is from India. After receiving a Gold Medal in her Masters in History, she went on to do a PhD in Environmental History. She has won four poetry competitions organised by Kaafiya, a poetry community based in Delhi, India. She loves words.
The Release of Wild Things
And when Bucephalos was tamed,
he dreamed of the steppes. Of breathless
runs, of sand, stone, mountains and wide, flowing rivers.
When he could still fly, his mane whipping his back in a wind
blown by the gods.
They said he had wings.
And after the man had gained his trust, the man
cut those wings. Bucephalos’ sorrow filled the air
he breathed; his cries pierced Andromeda.
The man who’d cheated him of his freedom
swung upon his back and reminded Bucephalos of his loss.
When the man’s heels pressed into his flanks,
Bucephalos bucked against the humiliation.
Then he resigned himself.
There was nothing else.
Bucephalos communed with the gods
of horses, after all he had been a prince
in his own right.
He would have been a king.
And the gods guided him through battles, pain, and indignities.
Never dishonour. Never that. He would serve
his master as though of his own free will
and thus transform his subjugation
into an act of pride and sacrifice.
One day the gods were busy elsewhere.
Bucephalus sustained grave injuries.
Dying, Bucephalos relaxed into his homecoming,
and saw himself rising towards the night sky
proud and erect in a small cage made for men,
a cage of contradiction that he knew would set him free.
His last breath was a thrust of powerful thought,
and the man who had been his nemesis
and only friend tumbled into space, naked and powerless
in the knowledge that he would never again
aspire to a kingdom.
Rose Mary Boehm
A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and Tangents, a full-length poetry collection published in the UK in 2011, she was three times winner of the Goodreads monthly competition. Recent poetry collections: From the Ruhr to Somewhere Near Dresden 1939-1949: A Child’s Journey and Peru Blues or Lady Gaga Won’t Be Back. Her latest full-length poetry MS, The Rain Girl, will be published by Chaffinch Press end August 2020.
They said he was untameable
and afraid of his own shadow,
branded skittish with an ox head,
none could soothe his rodeo.
The gentling of Bucephalus
began with the gentle whispers
and flourished into fraternity
without saddle, reins or spurs.
They camped under starless skies,
future king and Thessalian steed,
faced the sting of metal
and watched men bleed.
Too many men and horses died in battle
to the song of war cries and weapons’ rattle.
Kim M. Russell
Kim M. Russell has been writing poetry since she was a schoolgirl but only began submitting to competitions and anthologies when she retired from teaching in 2014. Her poems have been published on-line by Visual Verse, among others, and in print: Afflatus Magazine, River Writes (Bure Navigation Conservation Trust), Anthology of Aunts and Second Place Rosette (Emma Press), Peeking Cat Anthologies 2017 and 2018, and Field Work (UEA Publishing Project with Kunsthalle Cromer). She lives in the UK, in East Anglia between the North Sea coast and the Norfolk Broads, with her husband and two cats.
but the rider, fallen.
but a memory.
Below, a range of trees
Was it your horse,
who made you great?
Was it because you knew
how to lead? Did you whisper
in the ear? Did you know
how to turn the head? This horse
would have no shadows--
by the Jhelum he lay down.
How great the love
between horse and rider.
Carole Mertz, poet and essayist, is published recently at The League of Canadian Poets, The Bangalore Review, and in Poetry Quarterly (print edition.) She enjoys reviewing for various literary journals. Her forthcoming collection Color and Line is with Kelsay Books.
The Moon-Shadow Horses
"Where there is much light, the shadow is great."
"The uses of shadow are simply modern perversions
of a symbol people see in themselves which represent
fear of the world, of political change."
Phantammeron, Mitchell Stokely
Was the blue night deep and starless over the valleys of Thessalonika
when the moon-shadow horses emerged from Aegean sea waves? Near
Larissa, they pulled the chariots of the gods for centuries, from Greece
when Alexander spoke soothingly to an untamed horse, great in history,
whispering of their future, how Bucephalus, his forehead marked
with a fallen star, meant freedom and desire, the fulfillment of the boy's
dreams, traveling east from Macedonia; and it could be said the horse's
trust was created by the boy's breath, instinctive -- the fire of friendship
and determination -- how Alexander trained Bucephalus so he wouldn't see
his shadow -- a darker horse which seemed to distress the animal.
and there's no way to test the velocity as wings glued with wax
begin to melt, liquid flowing through feathers -- owl, eagle, hawk,
and crow -- birds sacred to Zeus and Apollo, the gods turning away
as Icarus flies too high, escaping Crete, solar power not yet the center
of scientific cosmology, the impact of its heat inaccurately measured
by the unevolved truth of laws defined by terra firma -- the greenhouse effect
(warm or too warm?) -- as the boy fails to navigate the heavenly flames
and falls, his body reversed, upside down so he can see Poseidon's horses
rising from the sea, and the horses of Hades pulling a chariot; and above,
a white horse with wings, Pegasus too late to save him from the gates of gravity.
There is no record of a crash in the "Aerial Times," if the moon-shadow
horses pulled a chariot that collided with reality in a constellation,
stars in the shape of Pegasus seen by Ptolemy at Alexander's camp fires;
or a fire-blast from the sun's chariot, broken in half before dawn. In his studio
with a sky-light, the artist paints a New Bucephalus, unable to move
on the canvas, caged by a balcony that resembles the front of a chariot --
the Sun's or Moon's -- his body shining like polished metal, the 13 Talents
Alexander wagered to win him. "The cart has come before the horse,"
and Bucephalus is looking down, trying not to see his shadow, pinned to him
when the moon is blocked by the corner of a wall broken away in Berlin.
The artist's choices were not his own after bombs falling on Munich
destroyed most of his canvasses. Conscripted by the Luftwaffe,
he was trained to operate anti-aircraft artillery, to destroy flying objects.
What survived in the sky was surreal, like the eastern corner
of a broken dream -- a nightmare -- a puzzle piece of the Berlin Wall
shaped like an airplane wing. It cannot support a body, falling,
polished silver like the figure of Bucephalus, a horse
who can't cross the night sky without Alexander
as he leads the moon-shadow horses, shades of their past falling away
with the artist's, west divided from east
in the earth's uncertain twilight
Laurie Newendorp lives and writes in Houston. Her book, When Dreams Were
Poems, 2020, ends with an ekphrastic poem, "Orpheus In The 21st Century."
Orpheus was the last of the Greek gods, and Alexander, believed to be the son
of Zeus, enters history (357 - 323 BC) part myth and part god, conquering lands
west to east, with Bucephalus. Edgar Ende painted The New Bucephalus, 1961
in the year the Cold War ended and the Berlin Wall was built. In his painting,
the freedom of the horse is restricted, and a young "god," his damaged head
oddly mechanistic, his facial identity destroyed, falls into a new and complex
world. The colors in the painting, red and blue, and the figures in silver, make
it impossible not to think of economics, age and politics (John Kennedy was
inaugurated in America in 1961) in an election year (2020) its outcome unknown.
SUBMIT to the UPCOMING EKPHRASTIC ANTHOLOGY!!!
The Ekphrastic Review is compiling an ebook anthology of poetry and prose inspired by international art.
Deadline to submit is November 1, 2020.
The prompts are in the ebook, The Ekphrastic World: 60 Art Prompts From Around the Globe.
Purchase of this ebook supports The Ekphrastic Review- thank you so much- and qualifies you to submit fifteen poems or five stories. ($20 CAD, about $15 USD).
We are excited about our first anthology! It is a celebration of five years of TER online.
The diverse, international art prompts curated in this collection will inspire your ekphrastic practice.
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