Fiona Burgess

Rookie (22 June 1983 / South Africa)

Racehorses - Poem by Fiona Burgess

The dirty city sun glares down on a wind beaten track
The echoing voice of the commentator
Mingles with the sound of traffic, pulsing along the freeway
The air is thick with tension and excitement
Fortunes made and lost in minutes
The stars of the day, oblivious to their power
Secure in their inherent beauty and grace
As they parade before the seething masses
One by one they canter past the grandstand
Their satin coats gleam like polished metals
Bronze, pewter, gold, copper, ebony and silver
Sliding over steel cast muscles
Their strength and courage unmatched
All they know is the fight for supremacy
These warriors of the turf
The tension becomes almost unbearable
As the contenders jog and snatch behind the pens
One by one they step into position
Bodies wound in readiness, hearts committed to success
Knowing in their deepest souls that this is what they were born for
Gods and goddesses of the wind
The starter gives the all clear, and the seconds tick by like hours
“They’re off! ” as the gates crash open and they launch forward in unison
Their small, brightly clothed passengers crouched low over their backs
Perfectly balanced, every decision made in a micro-second
No going back, the pack jostles as each fight for prime position
With four hundred meters to go the pace gets hotter
Everyone making their move
The masses surge to the rail, the shouts of encouragement crescendos
Nearly drowning out the commentators voice
The blistering pace carries them over the finish, positions clear
And some turn from the rail, tears, frowns, and joyful grins
The winner trots into the winners box, proud owners by his side
Still oblivious as to his worth
Only knowing he’ll be back to defend his Champion status
Firmly ensconced in the hearts of the racing public
But for now he looks forward to a warm stable and soft bed
And a manger of quality grain and hay
With the murmurings of his happy groom sounding in his ear.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, February 23, 2007

Poem Edited: Saturday, January 22, 2011

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