Duke

[A poem from my 2010 volume The Post-Man Letters available at Picaro Press, cf. Blogroll. ‘Dorpers’ in the third last stanza are a breed of sheep, a cross-breed between Dorset and Persian.]

Duke

for all the breeders of working horses

I’ve known Duke for a while.
Stands at the Stanleys’ fence a lot
waiting for an apple. Clydesdale,

no fancy-pants stallion for girls
to get off on, bred for work, muscled
like a navvy, wharfie, Terminator Three.

His chest four beer barrels across,
kids could play hide-and-seek
in it for days. Now out to pasture,

a long-term unemployed
because the work’s run out,
outsourced to tractor and oil.

They’ll be sorry when it’s peaked
and their sleek machines
lie rusting in the silent paddocks.

Look at those legs.
Feathered, emerging from mud
like a stripper from a cake.

The mountains of his haunches,
turned towards winter westerlies,
create downstream turbulence.

Maybe I should nick him
for a bit, bung him
in our paddocks with the dorpers

get him to haul logs home,
plough up that flat bit
between the dams crying out

for use, appreciation, the sly
and slow release of its potential.
Just like Duke. Or me.

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~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on December 7, 2010.

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