I went out and caught and hooked up Ron and Ren and drove them afoot quite awhile and then hooked them to the chariot and drove them a lot on the big corral. Ol’ Ren done great for a silly filly! I then messed with Rill in the round pen. While working these horses today, and noting the date, I got to thinking of all the great horses and animals who gave their lives in the service of this great nation and through out history, for the betterment (?) of mankind. Made me think of Joel Nelsons great poem that Wylie Gustafson set to music and that Ken Cook always insists I sing, and I gladly oblige him, as I think it is one of the greatest most powerful, best said, essays on the horse.  Here it is. If you should ever use this or any poem for that matter, please remember the Authors name. Maybe then that author, ol’ Anonymous won’t get the credit for so many!

Equus Caballus

I have run on middle fingernail through eolithic morning,
I have thundered down the coach road with the Revolution’s warning.
I have carried countless errant knights who never found the grail.
I have strained before the caissons I have moved the nation’s mail.

I’ve made knights of lowly tribesmen and kings from ranks of peons

And given pride and arrogance to riding men for eons.

I have grazed among the lodges and the tepees and the yurts.
I have felt the sting of driving whips and lashes, spurs and quirts.
      I am roguish—I am flighty—I am inbred—I am lowly.
      I’m a nightmare—I am wild—I am the horse.
      I am gallant and exalted—I am stately—I am noble.

      I’m impressive—I am grand—I am the horse.

I have suffered gross indignities from users and from winners,
And I’ve felt the hand of kindness from the losers and the sinners.
I have given for the cruel hand and given for the kind.
Heaved a sigh at Appomattox when surrender had been signed.

I can be as tough as hardened steel—as fragile as a flower.
I know not my endurance and I know not my own power.
I have died with heart exploded ’neath the cheering in the stands—
Calmly stood beneath the hanging noose of vigilante bands.

       I have traveled under conqueror and underneath the beaten.

       I have never chosen sides—I am the horse.

      The world is but a players stage—my roles have numbered many;
      Under blue or under gray—I am the horse.
So I’ll run on middle fingernail until the curtain closes,
And I will win your triple crowns and I will wear your roses.
Toward you who took my freedom I’ve no malice or remorse.
I’ll endure—This Is My Year—I am the Horse!

© 2002, Joel Nelson

6 thoughts on “Horses

  1. I really like your version of it also JB. I heard Joel recite it in Elko one time. Maybe you will play it for us next weekend. Hint Hint. Do we need tickets ahead of time you think?


    1. Thanks I plan on playing this or Ken might shoot me! No, I think there will be plenty of space.


      —– Original message —–

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