Bright Horses

After some poking around through various rabbit holes today, I decided to post a song from Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ latest album, Ghosteen.

The double album, released in 2019, was the first new writing for the band after Cave’s son Arthur’s accidental death near Brighton, England, in 2015. While the album explores themes of loss, it also explores faith, optimism and empathy.

The horse imagery in the song caught my attention today as an American friend often talks about the value of equine-assisted therapy for people suffering various traumas and going through recovery work. On a Google Meet call today, he spoke about this work and some of the practitioners he knows and works with, one of whom is also a friend of my sweety and me.

Another friend used to own several horses here in Manitoba. When offered the chance to go up close I remember feeling reluctant at first, a bit daunted by the animals’ size. But on two occasions, one walking and the other brushing a horse, I could understand how people related to these remarkable beings’ gentleness. Looking at me with big brown eyes, they seemed to enjoy the peaceful walk and the touch of the brush.

The tremendous physical strength, beauty and healing energy of horses are central to the song. Co-writers Cave and Warren Ellis use both mythical and real images to paint a story that shows the horse as a powerful and fearsome figure, though it moves to a lasting impression of beauty and peacefulness. This imagery is similar to the cover art, a version of the painting The Breath of Life, from Tom DuBois’ Eden series.

It seems the writers are saying that in such beauty and peacefulness is where healing can take root. I imagine this may have something to do with the reason so many people embrace equine therapy. I suspect that in the “round pen” my friend talks about, there’s no agenda or motives. Only healing.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the audio from Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ official YouTube channel:

Here’s an unofficial link to the song lyrics.

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