The Gattamelata I (Padua)

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See, this tensed energy
balanced on its awkward podium,
how in the soaring, contorted limbs,
that bulge like bronze fortresses,
you sense the horse’s revolt
against the stirrups,

while the head, sharp and unyielding,
fiercer than any enraged cloud,
would, at the slightest
loosening of the bite,
charge to the very edge of the high cliff,
to the ocean’s hoarse, unreasonable call.

But the taut man above,
with the self-assurance of
one who would conquer,
gathers up all this bellowing rage
into his equine brow.
For he is like a pole
about which a savage light grows tame,

and seated in his saddle,
he conjures purposes for those things
still without language.

See, in the joining of these two,
the horse is welded as a planet to its star,
and becomes an infinite road,
and an empire rising
beneath the hand’s firm hold.

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