poet Herbert Nehrlich

Herbert Nehrlich

A Hanging

They hung him at the crack of Dawn.
No big to-do, no time for folks to gather,
a rope was taken from the man's own saddle
and within minutes he was swaying in the breeze.
His horse named Reeeh, a chestnut Indian Mustang
had been supporting him before he met his maker,
the whip then cracked and Reeh took off at speed,
leaving his master well behind, forever still.

It's the odontoid bone that penetrates and kills,
the base is called the stem and is destroyed by force,
but it takes minutes, not mere seconds for the heart
to get the signal that its beating is in vain.

The horse had gone over the horizon with the sun,
but soon got bored with no direction or a plan.
He wandered back with silent steps and dragging stirrups
to stand below his master's still and eerie ghost,
he dozed while standing, that's what all the horses do,
and when the clock in distant towns faintly struck twelve,
a sound of terror startled him so much he jumped,
a frogmouth owl had said 'your master is still moving.'

So Reeh, who knew that owls are nightbirds, also wise,
he ventured closer and, in hope, posed one small question,
the bird of night and death and all eternal wisdom
just stared and nodded, but she never spoke a word.

By now the horse was standing right below its master
and they could smell each other's fears like an intrusion
into the senses of their brains without much logic,
and in a flash the horse was once again with rider.

He took the weight and did not move and hardly breathed,
there was no sound as all the animals were gawking,
yet, quite distinctly one could hear a busy pecker
who had begun to cut the man free from his noose.

At last the branch gave way and freedom was returned.
A whispered 'Thank You', horse and rider were last seen,
a living shadow riding slowly into sunrise,
their thoughts were secret and remained so, no revenge
was ever handed to the hangman and his helpers.

There have been stories of survivors from lynch hangings,
and if you need to know the secret of these legends,
then get yourself a smooth and highly agile Mustang,
they'll never dropp you without mercy at the end..

Poem Submitted: Monday, April 4, 2005

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Comments about A Hanging by Herbert Nehrlich

  • Mahnaz Zardoust-Ahari (9/7/2005 9:42:00 PM)

    I like this poem very much.....but I'm curious....watch a Clint Eastwood movie? Just curious :)

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  • Linda Preston (4/10/2005 5:11:00 AM)

    Hi, Herbert. I like this you really have got the ability to tell in a story in a poem. Well done.

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  • Sylvia Spencer (4/6/2005 3:39:00 AM)

    Herbert how interesting, tell me more I am like a robert that neesds imput, when i read poety like this I want to know where you get your sourse from. This poem made me feel that i was a tiny fish coming up against a great whale(meaning a little poet against a great one) I am inspired so much by your work this gets a 10+ from me.

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1,8 out of 5
7 total ratings
rate this poem

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Read poems about / on: horse, freedom, hope, death, sun, thanks, animal, fear