The Battle

[Once again, a picture prompt from Shan Ellis Williams, to stimulate ekphrastic poetry, and the GRPG went into action again. All of the offerings can be found here]

Prompt for the GRPG

I would like to credit the owner of this photo, but know not who it is. It is a great photo, nonetheless.

Her gentle hand enwrapped his nose
and pulled it to her face.
Behind his nostril, where there is
the very softest place,
she kissed him tenderly and smelt
the scent of peerless blood
that coursed his veins and caused his mane
to tremble with a power
that came from generations of
highbred aristocracy.
This kind of power was visible,
it rippled like a lake
that caught a sudden gust of wind,
and shimmered, glistening.

He’d knightly strength for greater things
and so it proved to be.
A friend of friends, an officer,
had visited to see
and beamed at his magnificence
there was no doubt for him
that this beast was set to ride
for glorious history…

…until his ignominious return,
a sight that broke her heart.

His eyes had depth of understanding
she knew too well. Their look,
injected as they were with fear,
but not the normal kind
– the kind that came from healthy gallops
over his favourite fell.

No. This fear, its source was made
from inner visions of…
what she saw then choked her eyes,
…an unspeakable kind of hell.
mud-filled craters’ stench of death,
through endless shock of shell,
unshakeable loyalty to his charge
despite his spirit’s knell.

In time the empty frame that stood
motionless in the field,
with timeless care she tended him,
though never fully healed
the scars that stiffened weary spirit
that caused him so much pain,
but filled with love and trust once more
the noble steed regained
a hint of what he used to feel:
excitement for the day,
security in his dominion,
in which he held full sway;
desire that burned in his dark eyes
to lead her in his way
back to the stable where he’d sink
his nose in soft sweet hay.

© 2012 John Anstie

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