KING CLYDESDALE
© Max Merckenschlager

 

Winner, 2008 ‘ABPA New South Wales Championship’, Dunedoo, NSW


He leans on the farm-gate, his chin on the rail,
there's a far-away look in his eyes.
And the breath of his morning condenses in cloud,
as he shivers and wistfully sighs.
Down the lane to his memory he's watching for life
and for hours he'll patiently stand,
while he dreams of a past before horses of steel
in a time he was king of the land.

 

He remembers the barn with its mangers of chaff,
lit by kerosene lamps in the gloom
and a clatter of cans when the water was fetched
and a ritual brush from the groom.
Those long days of toil as the seasons marked time,
till the horses were bedded on dark,
when a hooting of owls in his valley of farms
had an answer in echoing bark.

 

There’s a petulant bird cock-a-hoop on his rump
in a gyrating wag to the west,
with a smouldering stare under pencil-white brows,
making takeaway trips to his nest.
Down the lane to his memory he watches for life,
while he chatters away on his stand.
And he dreams of a time before horses of steel,
when his friend was a king of the land.

 

Now the swingles are rusty, the leathers are cracked
and his collars are broken and worn,
the mouldboard's forgotten, the chaffcutter's sold
and his master sleeps in after dawn.
He’s waiting in silence as seasons roll by
from the vigil he keeps by the gate,
while he listens for someone to whistle him home
and he wonders how long he must wait.

 

So he leans on the farm-gate, his chin on the rail,

there's a far-away look in his eyes.

And the breath of his morning condenses in cloud,

till he shivers and wistfully sighs.

Down the lane to his memory he's watching for life

and for hours he'll patiently stand,

while he dreams of a past before horses of steel

when he ruled as a king of the land.


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