Moving the Horses

Dry, hot the afternoon, the cottonwoods                                   

rustling in the heat, the grassland parched,

the eucalyptus woods drowse in the silent calm,

the close hills green and brown, the distant peaks

purpled and umber under a haze of warmth,

the sun a white globe on a cornflour backcloth


A sudden disturbance in the still air, noise,

a wickering and whinneying, a snorting,

it is time to move the horses. Two mares,

with their foals, to go to one large paddock.

The mares come easily to the halter, the foals

back off and kick, flinging their stick legs high,

their wild eyes rolling. Grooms back them into corners,

soothing and gentling, then they are caught and ready.


Down the path between the rails, the colt

trotting calmly now after his mother; the filly

squealing, bucking, behind her Dam, she moving proudly

passing the other brood mares with a tossing head.

Released in their new place, pawing at the ground, snorting,

a kicking up of heels, wild tossing of heads, flurry of hooves,

then cantering, galloping, turning, clouds of dust rising,

each mare trying to gather her own to her side, the foals

wild with a rising excitement, their first adventure.


A slowing, two to one corner, two to another,

the young ones start suckling, the mares nuzzling,

the dust settles; the horses watching and wondering

turn back to their hay nets, the disturbance over.

The sun flares amber, gold beams of light falling,

paling the meadows, gilding the far off hills.

The ranch sleeps again, under the blazing sky.



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