Steven Cooke

Rookie (01-04-1958 / Sheffield)

War Horse - Poem by Steven Cooke

(In memory of the 3 million horses killed in War)

Taken from Cloven fields,
Where skylark and Grouse Linger.
Into the bowels of a troopship
No scent of Morning Dew, No Bird song
Only sweat and urine,

And the distant sounds of war.
No light, no grass of home, only the whip.
For he is bound for Flanders field
His rider glorious in his regalia, sword in hand
He was his master now, and the horse’s salvation.
Kindness, a quiet word, an apple, their bond complete

His last feed, bathed in a red sun, which
Hovered above the morning mist hiding yesterday’s sin,
For this is the place where death is king and reason is lost

This day, where man throws sacrifice to the gods,
Like so much sour grain, crushed, and discarded,
To blow away into the winds of time,
Recorded by nations into the ledgers of loss,
For now it is time

The lines gather, then the slow trot, their proud heads, restrained,
Their mouths foaming on the bit,
These beasts of burden knowing no fear,
A site worthy of Valhalla

Their Trust, in man, galloping where heroes dare not go
Onward, onward, they gallop,
Row on row into the fog, No grass here,
Only mud, and wire,
Waiting for the days cull.

This place, Mans, ultimate betrayal,
Onward, Onward, Nostril’s flared, Eyes wide, steam rising from his Flanks,
Every muscle, straining for the next stride
Then the Stumble, a moment’s recovery,
Blood pours from his proud neck, then the ground.
His head rose, a hand strokes his brow, the last kindness.
A wavered shot ushers his life away, like so many before,

No one will weep for you my War horse,
No letter home,
They’ll be No mention in dispatches, No Memorial
For you are just an animal,
Sacrificed on the altar of man, left to rot in Flanders field

But for those precious minutes, he was more than man,
This day, of all days, he kept his bond, did not flinch,
Though death was all around,
Galloped blindly through the death rattle of the guns, face on,
No retreat, Onward, Onward,
The magnificence of the horse, No equal, never forget,
For it is the shame of a nation, a sin of mankind,
To undo the hand of god
No glory here, only an empty cup left on the altar of insanity.

Taken From Cloven Fields,
Where the Skylark and Grouse Linger
For I will weep for you,
My noble friend,
My War Horse, You Magnificent Beast


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, December 10, 2011

Poem Edited: Saturday, December 10, 2011


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