Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 25 November 2019

  • Stanford’s Ranch

    I dream of Stanford’s Ranch 
    white sheets on the tracks 

    rows of shutters & tripwires 
    & Sallie Gardner galloping 

    then in a swerve no more blurs 
    & Stanford wins his bet 

    like he nearly did with Occident 
    the first flying horse 

    all four hooves flying 
    unsupported transit 

    in my dream of Stanford’s Ranch 
    & the slow motion action replays 

    & the Video Technology 
    & the Surveillance cameras 

    & the dust cascading 
    under Sallie Gardner trotting 

    riding in future maps 
    into the Cowboy films 

    into the science books 
    into tomorrow's sad years 

    so yes horses do fly 
    I have to remind myself 

    everytime I wake up 
    from my dream of Stanford’s Ranch


    by Brendan Cleary


    This is the first of two Weekly Poems for the week – on Thursday we’ll be featuring a poem from Mariah Whelan’s new book the love I do to you, which she will be launching in Oxford on Friday when she will be reading with visiting Canadian poet, Doyali Islam, whose recent book is called heft.

    This week also sees our International Poetry Competition Awards Evening, which will be taking place on Thursday here at Oxford Brookes. We recently announced the winners, commended poets, and shortlistees in this year’s competition and we’re delighted that some of them will be joining us to read. Also joining us will be our judge, the internationally-acclaimed writer Jackie Kay! All are very welcome – please sign up here to attend.

    Do Horses Fly? is a sequence of poems inspired by the photographic work of Eadweard Muybridge. The poems reflect on the images created by Muybridge and his life and times. You can read more about the book on the tall-lighthouse website.

      muybridge 1

    Stanford’s Ranch. Multi-camera setup, Palo Alto.  

    Muybridge used 24 cameras to photograph sequential images of moving subjects in 1877-79.


    muybridge 2

    Horse and rider, Trot. 

    The image was taken at Palo Alto where Muybridge worked on sequences of his motion photography in 1877-79. 

    These images are reproduced with permission from Kingston Museum’s Muybridge Collection, whose support made the book possible. The Museum holds one of the largest Eadweard Muybridge collections worldwide. Find out more  here.

    Brendan Cleary’s poetry has been published for over 30 years. Previous collections include The Irish Card and Sacrilege (Bloodaxe), Stranger in the House (Wrecking Ball Press), goin’ down slow – selected poems 1985-2010 (tall-lighthouse) and the highly-acclaimed Face (Pighog Press). Originally from County Antrim, Brendan spent a number of years in the North East before moving to Brighton where he currently lives and works as a poetry tutor.

    tall-lighthouse press has a reputation for publishing new talent being the first to publish Helen Mort, Sarah Howe, Liz Berry, Ailbhe Darcy, Rhian Edwards, Jay Bernard, Emily Berry, Vidyan Ravinthiran and many others. Brendan’s book marks a return to publishing for tall-lighthouse with its original owner/director Les Robinson. Find out more about the press here.

    Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.