The Haywagon - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich
I sat, just turned thirteen,
in honour of advancing age,
the promise of maturity,
stout reins in hands
that had, with pride, acquired
red calluses and broken nails.
In charge of, maybe, tons of hay
stuffed tightly in the bowels of
the biggest wagon in the little town.
The earthy cheeks of Percherons
two pairs of silent force
now glistening with perspiration
were swaying, rhythmically, as if in trance.
Ammonis sweetness hung like a cloud
and covered all, for this exultant journey,
soaked legumes and dry oats awaited
anticipation settled now like eager ripples
as two explosions signalled efforts to extreme.
Uphill the stony road, a testy mountain
and passing, pompously, the man of ebony,
daydreaming with his heavy bible, full of dust,
accompanied by 'God be with you',
we reach the peak at last, the time is now
to pull them back, these reins of my initiation,
a test of common sense for man and beast,
the liberty of losing all with too much speed
and a catastrophe, fishtailing, it has killed
well in the past but still so fresh in memory.
'Twas fifty years when I did take the reins again
of a big wagon, stuffed with fragrant hay.
The silly grin inside my head, it had returned,
well-rounded cheeks did smell and look as in the past,
and the intense and somber landscape of my face,
in clouds of sweet ammonia and in trance.
I am convinced that those four horses were the same.
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