Poetry Month, April 2018: 3-Poem Tribute to 'The Carriage Driver' Series by Michael Friedman; the Author; White Horses
Tales of Transition from this World to the Next
As many of you will know, the series of stories called ‘The Carriage Driver’ by Michael Friedman is a wonderful, eponymous collection of stories. Mr Friedman’s writing transports us, along with Captain Griffin Chaffey's (the Carriage Driver’s) clients, to another world, gently, with precision, compassion and discipline, all done literally by the book, as he consults a list of those departing.
The elegant and wise horse, Nuelle, pulls the carriage. She and Griffin share an apple. They are the link between this world and the next. These constant factors make each story familiar yet fresh.
I would like to include a tribute to Griffin, to Nuelle and of course to Mike in this poetry month of April 2018, with the following three poems.
Griffin & NuelleClick thumbnail to view full-size
Griffin & Nuelle
The Book is key - for time, place and soul.
Griffin’s finger runs down the list,
to find the next client needing the journey,
then Nuelle proceeds through early morning mist.
She finds the person whose journey’s end
is the beginning of eternity’s rest.
She and driver share an apple, waiting
for the soul to prepare, accept what’s best.
Ethereal, yet majestic, horse and driver stand,
awaiting directions for client’s heart’s desire,
then transport, by measured and wondrous route,
the soul to dreams of which no one shall tire.
A gentle, nostalgic, youthful return
to life’s best memories, a final place
where she or he will be at peace
with past friends, finding love and grace.
White-coated equine with measured pace,
well-groomed coat, face full of grace,
Nuelle draws carriage with grateful guest
to elysian fields of final rest.
Though no imprisoned life awaits
this soul calmly accepting fate.
Instead, a happy place with friends,
a painless life which never ends.
Nuelle’s rôle is knowing where
each one belongs, a wisdom rare.
She has concerns if any are late
for reunion with place or mate.
She’s proud to shelter, transport, cradle
her clients, then return to stable,
content to share an apple sweet
before her well-earned, peaceful sleep.
Proud yet humble, Griffin leads
Nuelle as they cater for others’ needs,
treats her to half his apple lunch,
as they wait together… and munch.
Griffin’s job is noble and fair,
collecting clients ready to share
another life, where they can feel
a peace, see beauty forever, real.
Griffin was once a cavalier,
fighting for country, no truck with fear,
he firmly stood on freedom’s side
and fell with comrades, proudly died.
Nuelle fought with him, two as one,
so now their first endeavour’s done
they have a noble task and stay
for ever peaceful, in step, each day.
I love these stories. The gentleness they contain, even when the subject’s past is violent or distressing, is all-pervading and leaves us with a satisfying feeling that, at last, all is well. They are comforting, they allay fears of death.
Michael Friedman uses exquisite phraseology, transporting us to a magical world of final peace for a sad, hurt, tormented or sometimes surprised soul. His stories are well-crafted, thought provoking and structured to the last precise detail.
The characters of Griffin and Nuelle are strong, in control yet obedient to the passenger’s whims. They cannot change the circumstances but they can grant their final wishes. I never tire of these tales, nor do I ever stop being amazed at the ever-surprising circumstances of each passenger and the boundless imagination of the author.
There are three series so far. I recommend you read each and every story; you will not be disappointed. Each of the series differs slightly in form but sticks to the basis of the carriage driver and his horse performing their cherished duty.
The first series offers an image of transition to the afterlife, the second further explores glimpses into that afterlife and a little further, the third gives those passing over - or is it passing through? - a chance to define their own destination of choice.
Read any of this author’s work and I'm confident you will be left wanting more.
White Horses in the Waves
White horses are significant in mythology, being associated with
- the sun chariot
- an end-of-time saviour (like Nuelle?)
In Greek mythology, Poseidon was the creator of horses, creating them out of the breaking waves when challenged to make a beautiful land animal. Hence the description for the foam on the top of waves in a choppy sea is commonly ‘white horses’.
There are several white horse figures carved into chalk on hillsides in Britain, such as the Westbury White Horse in Wiltshire and the White Horse at Uffington in Oxfordshire.
Horses with completely white coats are commonly referred to as 'greys'.
White Horses on Chalk Downs
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Ann Carr