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Zen Rider
Anne Whitehouse


Caspar is a great jumper 

but all who try to ride him 

end up in his favorite ditch.

At last it is my turn.


From the quietest place in my heart

I tap into his will and his need,

at one with the pulse of his breath

as he gallops across the fields.


This poem first appeared in Alabama Literary Review (Vol 21. No.1, 2012).
Used here with the author’s permission.

Anne Whitehouse has worked as a resident artist and teacher with Teachers & Writers Collaborative and New York State Poets-in-the-Schools, and as an instructor in several colleges. In addition to writing poetry, fiction, and journalism, she has had a distinguished career in development work for non-profit agencies. A Magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College, where she was awarded the Joan Grey Untermeyer Poetry Prize and the Leverett House Poetry Prize, Anne received an M.F.A. from Columbia University's School of the Arts. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter. Learn more about Anne at


Post New Comment:
Love this poem! Cross that ditch!
Posted 11/12/2013 06:46 AM
As a horseback rider and sometime jumper, I love this poem. The higher the jump, the more dependent the horse is on the rider, and vice versa; the act of clearing the fence becomes a truly shared endeavor. I love the notion of tapping into the horse's 'will and need,' and the ditch of the first stanza is both real and mythological.
Posted 11/02/2013 12:35 PM
There is a lot in, and in-between these lines; liked your poem very much...Judy
Posted 11/02/2013 12:28 PM
I feel the ride and hear the breathing. Wonderful imagery.
Posted 11/02/2013 08:07 AM

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