Poems By Frances Butler
Know Horses and Know Man
“A horse is a horse, of course, of course”-
At least that’s what some say;
But blanket statements, such as this,
Infrequently are true.
On any gauge conceived by wits,
Each horse appears unique;
Like snowflakes or like fingerprints,
No two are quite alike,
Size varies from Goliath large
To Lilliputian small;
The horse, like man, is blessed with hues
As rich as Jacob’s coat;
Human traits are common, too,
In equine hearts and herds.
Most specimens are gentle, kind;
But some are born, it seems,
With streaks of mean: like men, they bite
The proffered hand which holds
A treat or slyly kick a groom
Or unsuspecting friend.
Some stand aloof, rebuffing each
Caress, while others crave
Companionship and friendly words
And touch. Group leaders, like
Their human counterparts, are born;
Observe the politics
In any paddock, any field:
One will emerge to take
The sweetest bites of food, to be
The first in every line.
Tyrants, bullies, comics, clowns,
Abound in every barn
And in the smallest town. In short,
To study humankind,
Lean on a fence, prop on a rail:
Know horses and know man.
*Inspired by “the Mr. Ed Theme Song”
By Ray Evens and J Livingston
From the wellspring of the sky,
Horse of the desert and of lore,
With mane entangled in the breeze,
Across the landscape
Of the human heart.
The Prophet’s steed
The Prophet’s tears,
Reflected in his perfect eyes;
Knowledge of his beauty
And his power,
Echoed in his carriage
And his pride.
Kind of heart,
He takes and tastes a purple grape
Extended from the fingers of a child;
String of back,
He shares with man
The burdens of a battle of a field.
Pure of soul and blood,
In the tent or in a stall,
Steadfast to his Master,
Whether commoner or king,
He is content
To be man’s friend
The Gift of the Horse
The story of the horse is intertwined
With that of man: companion, comrade, friend,
A mount for Prophets or for Kings, a gift
From sympathetic gods.
In war, the horse
Stands sentry in the night, steadfast of heart
A fierce combatant, never flinching from
The fight, prepared to face the lance, the sword,
The gun, to stand above a rider who
Is wounded and unhorsed, defending life
With teeth and dervish hooves, striking at
The enemy with practiced airs above
The battleground, maneuvers fearsome in
Their beauty and their might.
In peace, the horse
Becomes a helpmate sent to ease the curse
Of Adam and his kin. Proud arch of neck
Bends willingly to every task; strong back
Accepts and lightens mankind’s every load.
Prometheus brought fire; the horse’s gifts
Of speed and strength are equally as fine.
Both, willing captives, chained to man by love
And for his sacrifice,
His selfless loyalty, a promise made
By grateful deities will be fulfilled:
The horse will soar once more, will reborn
A cloud, set free to roam the bluegrass fields
Of perfect skies, still watching over man.
The Magic Horse
Pulled from the sky
No more to fly,
He was allotted earthly tasks:
Like Adam, fated by a master plan
To birth and death
The image of the skies
Where he once
Is in his eyes;
And in his heart,
A terrible awareness
Of his lot.
Shorn of horn and wings
By men grown
Skeptical of myth,
His magic lingers, nonetheless;
Still he floats above the ground,
Evokes the beauty
Of the wind
In every move
And calls the thunder
With his hooves.
Of his pedigree,
The blood of champions
Coursing in his veins.
In the presence of his ancestors;
The knowledge of his greatness
Shining in his eyes;
Proclaimed in every stride.
Call it what you will,
A colt was born today at three
With no control of leg or knee;
Tomorrow he outruns the air
Or cloud-shod Pegasus or mare.
The young run circles round the old;
They’ve twice the leg and not the role.
ML Mostly Padron: The Promise
The making of a legend
In a colt
Like the desert moon, when full,
Can touch the soul;
A chestnut of so deep a hue,
His coat, like rich mahogany,
Reflects each ray
When kissed by light;
Mane tinged with red and gold;
Lightning lightly streaking down
A sculpted face,
A profile molded by a master hand;
A stallion blessed with eyes
Like desert pools,
Still and dark,
Deep wells of kindness that
Reveal a gentle soul;
A body, tight and strong,
In silk and satin finer that
The richest Persian rug;
In the perfect symmetry of form:
Arch of neck reflected proudly
In the carriage of his tail;
The poetry of motion
In each stride:
He floats on air,
Nostrils wide to taste the breeze.
The wind whispers
Pays homage to his line.
The past and present
Of his breed
Are focused in his blood;
The promise of the future
Lies in his seed.