Mandarla al palio
Only God created the horse.
Among totemic animals of
(dragon, turtle, leopard, eagle...)
proud Siena neighborhoods
there is no horse. Only the race itself
belongs to the horse. Nowhere else
is a racehorse led to be blessed
inside the basilica-barn itself.
Virile, snorting, arrogant stallion.
Beast, clomping his iron hoof
beneath the cathedral's holy roof.
Bravo's elemental advent (of the Virgin).
Ninety seconds in the Campo ring.
A year drawn tight into a knot.
Banners, shuddering. Local Camelot
rages for Arthur's fabled coming
back... Guidoriccio - nobleman
in yellow-black, atop thundering steed
above Mappamondo (absent, indeed).
Crown of nobile contrade; king of kin.
Meanwhile wily Bernardino grins from his curving
alcove. The one who loses the race - the one
who surrenders (hobo, loser, slave... no one).
The shadow of a stolen colt flits (furtive,
cornered) - a shrouded patch of brown
or coroner's cigar thrown down (Corona).
Who will wear the crown? The arena
overflows - a boasting hubbub-hippodrome.
... and so another round begins in Henry's (con geetar) famous horserace with himself (and all the other poets).