At Eighty



Spanker, Sharper, Prince and Bob

Were horses that my father drove

Through rain, through clay, down car-free roads

The workless tramped, for his first job.


He told me as we waited, bored,

Outside my dozing mother’s ward

Bob kicked him sailing down the yard.


Bob also bolted from the tree,

Dragged with clanked chain.  The closest shave

Came when he swayed back, peacefully,


Legs tapping Spanker’s sun-warm side,

Back to the hay, from dinner break.

The great grey Belgian reared beside,


Horse, cart, crashed toppling like a tree.

The shaft’s kink saved his battered sides.

Six Irish shearers dragged him free.


A bungalow’s quiet bedroom took

Breath neither weight nor war could rob.

Out of the dark with patient feet

Came Spanker, Sharper, Prince and Bob.



Alison Brackenbury

If you've any comments on this poem, Alison Brackenbury would like to hear them.

Snakeskin logo