the Mongolian Women's Orchestra

enter the Mongolian Women's Band
the years,


whose music, theirs and theirs, like language learned,
inevitable, red and super-sound,
outplays the days the days that made it mine


and beauty beauty adds to it – its stir,
its wink, its melt, and anything that shines –
this is The Horse that Overtook the Wind:


the little men that ride the plain 
on hearts that will not race again 
whose hoofbeats knock on heaven's door – 
they will not come back anymore

the history of hope is short : 
it has one chapter – Youth. I thought 
that memories would make me wise 
but nothing comes as no surprise

across the windy open spaces 
briefly bright their shining faces 
do with beauty then are gone – 
the horses gallop on and on


and if I played my darndest, darndest card,
who have no beauty now, no more, what tricks
I take have not the hearts they had before.


The Horse that Overtook the Wind is done,
and beauty beauty raced it well – its stir,
its wink, its melt and anything that shines.


exit the Mongolian Women's Band
the years.

LISTEN to ‘the Mongolian Women’s Orchestra’ by John Gallas

John Gallas was born in Wellington, brought up in Nelson and St Arnaud, but is at present in Coalville, Leicestershire. Seven collections published by Carcanet Press; the next, 40 Lies, coming out in July 2010. He works for the Leicestershire Behaviour Support Team in county schools. Writing at present a scientific version of The Divine Comedy.

Gallas comments: 'This tired poem is uncheerful only in the face of sublime beauty: heroic despair at approaching uselessness much occupies Mongolians. The poem was written after being weary, dazzled, transported and looking in the mirror, in that order, in Ulan Baatar.'

Poem source details >



Carcanet Press
John Gallas’s website (featuring poems changed every 2 months)