Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"The Black Stallion" by Joe Howard

He was wild and free.
Small, muscular, hoofed.
Ranged far and wide.
Knew no boundaries.
Except those of hunger,
fatigue, disease.

Wild he was.
Strong he was.
Free he was.
Fearless he was.

Till they trapped him.
Threw him off his feet.
Tied his legs.
Dropped a tarp over him.
Beat the fight out of him.

Then they pulled the tarp off.
Burned him with their brand.
Took the bindings from his legs.
Jerked him back upright.
Saddled him, rode him,
fed him, drove him.
Until the memory
of what he'd been
was lost in the pain.

Time passed.
And he grew old.
Grey. Spindly.
No longer usable.
Worthless to them.

Feed cost.
So they took him back.
To where they'd found him.
Cast him out.
On old ground.
To face what was now strange.

Alone, he stood . . . For a while.
Alone, he did not move . . . For a while.
Then, deep within, memory stirred.
And his head lifted.

His eye caught sight of sky.
Of peak. Of wild others.
And he bent to feed,
not yet dead.
Rose to see, not yet down.
Moved to explore, not yet lame.

Life returned . . . Slowly . . . Slowly.
Healing began . . . Gently . . . Gently.
And the old black stallion
heard his heart beat . . . once more.

The old black stallion found his
soul . . . once more.
Knew he was alive . . . once more.
Knew he was free . . . once more.
Knew he was home . . . once more.