Steppe Rider

Nothing was faster than the fastest horse, the
Mongol spending months on a trecherous course
The stations and lodges where the riders would rest
The promise of food and a bed

What fracas or friendships might they forge overnight
What sordid encounters, what carnal delights?
From what foreign land might these lodgers have hailed
And whom had they most in their thoughts on the trail

Carrying on by morning through the hills and over steppes
What nomads or merchants might the riders have met
With their caravans for shelter where they hide from the weather
Retreating into shadows while their bull-camels swelter

Selling spices and potions for the fatally ill
Carved-jade trinkets and opulent silk
Stirrups and bits of a quality rare, a gift for a mare just
as hardy as billed, in return for her blood and her milk

Carrying on by morning through the hills and over steppes
How huge it must have felt, deeper and wider than fear,
from Crimea to China in the best part of a year

The monotonous thumping of hooves over land
Announcing their arrivals by the stirring of sand
Visible for miles and getting closer by the yard
Riding through the night under thousands of stars

Thursday, March 8, 2018
Topic(s) of this poem: desert,empire,historical,horse,night,rhyme,stars,verse
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Very different approach for me, love to hear some feedback!
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