Name Of Horses Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


All winter your brute shoulders strained against collars paddingA
and steerhide over the ash hames to haulB
sledges of cordwood for drying through spring and summerC
for the Glenwood stove next winter and for the simmering rangeD
In April you pulled cartloads of manure to spread on the fieldsE
dark manure of Holsteins and knobs of your own clustered with oatsF
All summer you mowed the grass in meadow and hayfield the mowing machineG
clacketing beside you while the sun walked high in the morningA
and after noon's heat you pulled a clawed rake through the same acresH
gathering stacks and dragged the wagon from stack to stackI
and the built hayrack back uphill to the chaffy barnJ
three loads of hay a day from standing grass in the morningA
Sundays you trotted the two miles to church with the light loadK
a leather quartertop buggy and grazed in the sound of hymnsL
Generation on generation your neck rubbed the windowsillB
of the stall smoothing the wood as the sea smooths glassM
When you were old and lame when your shoulders hurt bending to grazeN
one October the man who fed you and kept you and harnessed you every morningA
led you through corn stubble to sandy ground above Eagle PondO
and dug a hole beside you where you stood shuddering in your skinP
and lay the shotgun's muzzle in the boneless hollow behind your earQ
and fired the slug into your brain and felled you into your graveR
shoveling sand to cover you setting goldenrod upright above youS
where by next summer a dent in the ground made your monumentT
For a hundred and fifty years in the Pasture of dead horsesU
roots of pine trees pushed through the pale curves of your ribsV
yellow blossoms flourished above you in autumn and in winterC
frost heaved your bones in the ground old toilers soil makersH
O Roger Mackerel Riley Ned Nellie Chester Lady GhostW

Donald Hall


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