He broke horses when
chasers were in the paddocks
on slow wet afternoons

He broke fasts with dawn prayers under
cracked-ridge saddles and paint-flakes held in cobweb;
murmurs of Leviticus

He broke his nose in an alley
in Charleville in nineteen-eighty-two
fighting a traveller for five hundred pounds

He broke the careful silence of a newly backed filly:
‘Treat the reins as if they were velvet’

He broke himself in fits of compunction, sending
what little he had to Africa, or to a satellite Evangelical
—an elasticity of pathos.

He broke the yellow stained glass of the
back-door when he
was ‘put through it’

He broke his skin
leaning over a shotgun in nineteen-ninety-four

He broke his wife

Horses, in exhaustion,
horses.