The spirit wanders, comes now here, now there, and occupies whatever frame it pleases. From beasts it passes into human bodies, and from our bodies into beasts, but never perishes. Ovid, Metamorphoses


It was feet first.

            Bones lengthened, toes fused,

 keratin of nails

           thickened into hooves.


Hands went the same way.

            I tested long legs,

pasterns hocks fetlocks,

            revelled in their spring and flex.


My gut an intricate machine

            for hay and grass,

slung like a full hammock,

            hung between shoulders, hips.


Neck stretched and arched,

            eyes transposed to the sides of my face.

As words dried I was gifted with sound,

           ears that flattened or flicked.


I skittered at noise,

           shadows or shapes,

strange scents. Skin

           felt everything.


A boy tried to mount,

           gripped my withers like I was meat.

Shucked him off, flourished my tail,

           kicked up the dust like a colt.


One day I leapt the gate

            galloped the green-arched lanes

in search of moors.

           Mares glanced up from grazing.


Summer I was still for the stallion.

            With a belly full of foal, kin.

Jenny Donnison