Featured Poem: A New Beginning

Nancy Haskett
Modesto Branch, California

 

On our way to shop at the sutlers’ tents,

we pass through the artillery camp,

horses lined up on our left,

each one almost identical to the next,

dark brown glossy coats,

long black manes and tails.

Not so long ago,

these Standardbred horses

trotted and paced in harness races,

pulled carts in front of grandstands, noisy crowds,

until their stride and winnings slowed,

their futures expendable.

 

Today,

they pull limbers, caissons, cannons

in teams of four and six

at this historical reenactment;

like synchronized dancers

they move as one,

joined in harnesses that clang and rattle

as they respond to reins and commands,

rush supply wagons, Civil War ambulances,

then stand calmly when artillery concussions

shake the ground.

 

 

Some wait their turn

as we walk by,

watch with alert brown eyes

focused on the wagon and four-horse team

circling the field without them;

others stand with knees locked,

sleeping in the sun,

and now, they dream

of brave gallops into battle chaos,

smoke that fills the field,

shouts of men in blue uniforms

who have rescued them,

provided a second chance,

a new beginning

in the Union “Army.”

 

 

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