War-Horses by G.M. Jeudwine

I came across this poem in ‘The Horse and the War’ by Capt. Sidney Galtrey. It’s one of the most powerful verses on the plight of the war horse that I’ve come across so far.

‘We combed you out from happy silences,
On thymey downs;
From stream-veined meadowlands alight with crowns
Of buttercups, where, for you, shapely trees
Made spacious canopies.


Now (day and night) unsheltered, in the mud
You droop and ache;
With ruthless hands, for human purpose’ sake,
Fashion the complex tools which spill your blood
And ours in rising flood.


No deputation (yet) your wage controls.
Ungauged, unpaid
Your overtime. The war blast leaves no blade
Of green for you – poor ghosts of happy foals! –
Munching your minished doles
In ravages by human frenzy made. ‘


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