As we welcome another year, I wanted to re-read this poem myself and share it with you. Entitled “When I am an Old Horsewoman,” it was written by Patty Barnhart and originally published in The Arabian Horse World Magazine, twenty years ago.
When I am an old horsewoman
I shall wear turquoise and diamonds
And a straw hat that doesn’t suit me
And I shall spend my social security on
white wine and carrots,
And sit in my alleyway of my barn
And listen to my horses breathe.
I will sneak out in the middle of a summer night
And ride the old bay gelding,
Across the moonstruck meadow
If my old bones will allow
And when people come to call, I will smile and nod
As I walk past the gardens to the barn
and show instead the flowers growing
inside stalls fresh-lined with straw.
I will shovel and sweat and wear hay in my hair
as if it were a jewel
And I will be an embarrassment to all
Who will not yet have found the peace in being free
to have a horse as a best friend
A friend who waits at midnight hour
With muzzle and nicker and patient eyes
For the kind of woman I will be
When I am old.
Thank you, Patty, for generously allowing reprinting of your poem, so it may be shared with so many.