Monday, April 20, 2020

YOKEL ( 28 ) ~

Peaceable Kingdom


We went to the town fair

For the first time in our lives

To watch the work horses and

The work horses were there,

Somehow they never disappoint you

Led out from trailers in wraps

Of leather harness, some gilded

And special for the day —

The horses could teach anyone how

To stand, how to wait

Their heads turned the other way

From a stone sled loaded by six

Men and one more on a tractor

Who are having a difficult

Enough time managing each

Block weight onto the sled,

One after the other until

What is expected to pull

Gains to 3500 pounds and

Later double that

Three-man teams talked

Amongst themselves soon

Showing they had trouble

Of their own making

A horse pair obey —

Names Frank, Chris, Josey

Revealed an intimacy from

These tough men with bloody

Elbows dragged by reins

Along the stone sled down

A twelve foot course hollering

Hold up there! and watching

Their feet and legs aren’t

Crushed by this plowing

Entertainment drive

How does a trophy and 

One hundred fifty dollars

Grab you — awarded to the

Winner — the horse teams

Feel none of this, it is

Another day blinking

Flies and hasty sun,

Horse paired up to

Horse because they

Work best together

The least we could do

Would be to hope a little

More grain and hay came

Pitched down for them

That night, a rightful

Pat on the hind quarters,

And any of us can walk

Over to where horses

Huddle and with

No celebration or

Much of a sound,

Wait until one

Lifts his head and

Large eyes brighten

We meet


Has a way

When you’re not sure

Of having you place

That finger to your nose

Makes No Difference

Work horses

Stand in the rain

The sun, more rain

Bright leaves and snow


At the fair

This cow who

Knows this farmer

Won’t go easily

To the strange

Water tub tugged

By rope and hind

Legs holding back

The pinkest nostrils

Breathing ahead of

All its body along

A porcelain edge and

Always how massive

But somehow terrified

The great animal

Head down grazing

Goose thumps into

Fence post


Out in the open midway

Of flea market sellers

Unwrapping their tables

Look to the sky

Wondering with a

Neighbor hawker if it

Will rain — and who

Knows, none of us —

But one old-timer

Under a canopy

Slowly unpacking his

Nest of goods took no

Mind to the rain that

Seemed to be falling

All of a sudden as he

Stepped out of the

Tent and dusted off

His hat announcing

To no one it was

Only fizzling

(to be continued next week)

Bob Arnold