The Day We Decided to Put Fawn Down

 From Coyote Bush

By Peter Nash

My friend David and I stand outside the fence

watching the horses eat hay,

water dripping off the two mares,

bay trees bowing in the wind.

I wonder if a protein pot

will add flesh to Fawn,

the elderly mare whose rough spotted hide

hangs on a coatrack of bone,

wonder whether to trim her hooves

or order some Butazolidin

from the vet for her swollen fetlock.


Rain prickles our blue plastic hoods,

the great muscled jaws chew.

Fawn eases her leg

staring at us with milky eyes

like pockmarked marble.

More talk back and forth of rain,

vets, horses, a troubled neighbor,

windfall apples. Then quiet.






























Coyote Bush

By Peter Nash


Coyote Bush is a book that pays homage to the earth. It is a paean to
the stars and their constellations, the clouds and the wind, to the
horses, cows, deer, and dogs, all who blessedly live without language.
In these poems of place, Nash traces and retraces his time-worn paths into the hills of Northern California. He is content at times just to watch the light change or lie down in the hollow a pregnant doe has made in the night. But these are also poems of refuge and discovery, poems of love, of suffering, relationships, childhood memories, sudden
enlightenment, sometimes back to back, sometimes rising to the surface when the reader is ready for them.  Nash finds his place among the elements, firmly rooted between earth and sky.

Praise for Coyote Bush

“In "Tracks" Peter Nash describes lying down in the hollow of dry needles where a doe and her newborn fawn have lain. And this is what his poems allow us to do- to inhabit the experience of another being and in so doing, to deepen our own. This collection is rich with praise and rich with cold, clear truth-telling. I admire Peter Nash's craft and courage.”

     — Ellen Bass

"Without ever shouting, Peter Nash's poems of rural life are deeply moving, whether as elegy or celebration. They develop thier themes through inspired description that is both true to the immediate occasion and deeply resonant. This is a rich, wise, and delightful book.”

     — Carl Dennis 

"Here's a poet who has lived his life, not just imagined it.  When he remembers the 'arrowhead,' 'flickering tongue,' and "black seeds" of a snake's eyes, you see them too.  When 'hooves thud in the meadow,' you know he heard that sound.  The book is a loose group of sequences, poems of love, of suffering, of sudden enlightenment, sometimes back to back, sometimes rising to the surface just when the reader is ready for them.  One typical sequence - about the bony old mare put to pasture and then, when her legs begin to go, put down - reveals the man as well as the mare, also aging yet true to his time and place.  'This day / could stand for any of my days, / and if I had to leave / now would be a good time.'  Those lines end his book, and he has earned them." 

    – Taylor Stoehr, poet, translator, literary executor of Paul Goodman and editor of Paul Goodman’s collected poems