"The Jockey of Artemision"

Rob Taylor

Rob Taylor is the author of three poetry collections, including The News (Gaspereau Press, 2016), which was a finalist for the 2017 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Rob is also the editor of What the Poets Are Doing: Canadian Poets in Conversation (Nightwood Editions, 2018) and guest editor of the 2019 edition of The Best Canadian Poetry in English (Biblioasis, 2019). He lives with his family in Port Moody, British Columbia.

“The Jockey of Artemision is a bronze sculpture which resides in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece. Dated to 150 BC, it was lost in a shipwreck off Cape Artemision and only rediscovered in 1926.”

     A child still and always, eyes
     and mouth, once bone, now bowls
     hollowed those millennia below
     the waves, no reins to guide the horse
     gigantic underneath his thighs.
     All he clings to—all he sees
     and speaks of now—is time
     and what it takes and what,
     a while, it leaves behind.

     My son, mounted to my chest,
     reaches for the Jockey, as he strains
     for everything these days. No, I say.
     He shrinks back, pauses, tries
     again. The docents laugh and coo,
     relaxed, though we are all aware
     in time he’ll reach, race through and past.
     That future boy, beyond our grasp,
     relentless, reinless, silent, blind.