"Story With a Real Beast and a Little Blood in It”

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Oct. 2 2012 8:15 AM

"Story With a Real Beast and a Little Blood in It”

Bull silhoutte.

Photograph by Comstock/Thinkstock.

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Rose McLarney read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.  

The night the bull broke loose,
there was much to learn. Like,
when a bull lowers his head to charge,|
step close. This is when you can
slip a rope around his neck. Or,
when the men, butted and bruised
with rope burned  hands, give up,
make a path of sweet feed.
The bull will follow it into the fence,
and, quietly, you can close the gate.
But let’s not look to make allegories,
for any meaning beyond the marvel
of a bull, tangled in a broken rope,
sheltering in a culvert, stamping, snorting—
the singular sound that echoed in that tin.
You have a life in which such stories
are not symbols. You too held on
to the rope when the bull ran. You
sometimes flew, sometimes followed
on your knees down the mountain, noting
even in brambles, as you bled,  the stars.

For Slate's poetry submission guidelines, click here. Click here to visit Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project site.

 

Rose McLarney's collection of poems, The Always Broken Plates of Mountains, is published by Four Way Books. Her work has appeared in the  Kenyon Review, Orion, New England Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, and  many other journals.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 23 2014 12:43 PM Occupy Wall Street How can Hillary Clinton be both a limousine liberal and a Saul Alinsky radical?
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Head of Security Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would A Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 11:13 AM Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 11:48 AM Punky Brewster, the Feminist Punk Icon Who Wasn’t
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 1:50 PM Oh, the Futility! Frogs Try to Catch Worms Off of an iPhone Video.
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 1:38 PM Why Is Fall Red in America but Yellow in Europe? A possible explanation, 35 million years in the making.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.