Heaven for Horses


By Lew Sarrett
Shuffle along, O paint cayuse! 
Prick up your flyblown ears: we've swung 
The pasture-gate to turn you loose, 
To let your carcass, sprained and sprung, 
Your rattling bag of bones now pass 
To the paradise of grass. 

Never again a pain to come 
From panniers pounding on your side 
Like cudgels clattering on a drum; 
From saddles that gall your tender hide; 
From the rake and sweep of grinding rowels 
And spurs that stab your bowels. 

Time for a bronco's holiday! 
Time now to watch the clouds roll by, 
To nibble the knee-deep salty hay, 
To roll and sprawl your heels on the sky. 
O Paint-o! bed yourself in clover, 
The pull of the years is over. 

Nothing to do now, but placidly stand 
And wait till your sagging head shall sink; 
And the ghost of you, with a flaming brand, 
Will gallop over the world's brink 
To heaven, with a dim white rider astraddle 
Your ribs on a ghostly saddle. 

Heaven for horses! — a billowy plain 
With blocks of salt in mountain-rows, 

Timothy tall as pines, and grain 
Foaming in oceans up to your nose; 
Where a horse forever may plant his feet 
In rivers of oats and eat. 

Heaven! — no starry refuge there 
For the mice that worry you into flight, 
Or the drolling clownish grizzly bear 
Whose antics stop your heart with fright; 
Nor any menacing bug or bee 
To drive you to deviltry. 

What troubles you? Whoa! Why snort at this? 
Nothing in heaven to make you vexed! 
To give you a slight excuse for the bliss 
Of bucking and squealing! to serve as pretext 
For bolting and running your crazy courses! . . 
Paint! Is there a hell for horses? 


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