Small Horse
Equuleus Pictoris

A bent line, not much more:
Pictor, the Abbé saw an easel
in you, twig-tendril afloat
in the Southern sky.

Your jaunty stance winks
neither canvas nor paint.
Three points pink, half-seen
from half the earth, your place

is mapped on a flat universe
that blindfolds us. And I
am further away from you
than the Abbé on a starry night,

or the artist whose mind
blended bright with black,
turned lines into swirls
flung colour at galaxies.



Robin Houghton’s work appears in various magazines including The Rialto  and Poetry News. She won the 2013 Hamish Canham prize and the 2014 Stanza competition.  Pamphlet: The Great Vowel Shift (Telltale Press 2014). Blog:     Twitter: @robinhoughton

Note: The constellation Pictor was named by Abbé Nicholas Louis de Lacaille, who named 15 of the 88 constellations. Originally called Equuleus Pictoris, the Painter’s Easel. Equuleus, which means “small horse”, referred to the wooden stand which formed the common type of easel in Lacaille’s time.

This poem first appeared in the anthology Heavenly Bodies (Beautiful Dragons 2014)