Say This of Horses
Across the ages they come thundering
On faithful hoofs, the horses man disowns.
Their velvet eyes are wide with wondering;
They whinny down the wind in silver tones
Vibrant with all the bulges of old wars;
Their nostrils quiver with the summer scent
Of grasses in deep fields lit by pale stars
Hung in a wide and silent firmament,
And in their hearts they keep the dreams of earth
Their patient plodding furrowed to the sun
Unnumbered springs before the engine’s birth
Doomed them to sadness and oblivion.
Across the swift new day I watch them go,
Driven by wheel and gear and dynamo.
Say this of horses: engines leave behind
No glorious legacy of waving manes
And wild, proud hearts, and heels before the wind,
No heritage of ancient Arab strains
Blazes within a cylinder’s cold spark;
An engine labors with a sullen force,
Hoarding no dreams of acres sweet and dark:
No love for man has ever surged through wire
Along the farthest slopes I hear the rumble
Of these last hoofs-tomorrow they will be still;
Then shall the strength of countless horses crumble
The staunchest rock and level the highest hill;
A man who made machines to gain an hour
Shall lose himself before their ruthless power.