Work Horse

Clip, clop,
With clods of earth rising
Behind the plough
Kicking over the traces
Dashing the foot against a stone
Scuffing shoes, doing up laces.
Clip, clop, clip, clop
With rags and bones
Piling into the cart
With every sinew hurled
Into the waiting harness
Blinkered from a warring world.
Clip, clop, clippety clop
Horseshoes tap-dancing on tar
Canons dragged to the front
Of cordite's leading edge
Approaching Flanders' fields
Beyond an Aintree hedge.
Clip, clop, clip, clop
Searching for the wounded
Above crowded trenches
Straining at the bit
Drenched in sweat
And the acrid smell of the pit.
Clip, clop,
Leaving the ambulance
To the commando brigade
Fighting for freedom for all it's worth
In the fiercest of cavalry charges
While blood seeps slowly into the earth.
Clip ..... clop
Alone and dejected
By-passed by the man of peace
Who chose the other four-legged slave -
The lowly colt,
As palm branches began to wave. [1]
February 2009
After viewing 'War Horse' at the Royal National Theatre, and recalling the Horse Memorial in Port Elizabeth, South Africa