The Horse

The man who goes into the fight,
With the heart of a volunteer,
Has the high ideal of doing right,
To conquer his pain and fear,
And the man who is forced to go
Has his pride, and his will, and his faith,
To help him over the road of woe
To the goal of a crutch, or death.

But the steed that is dragged from his stall
To be plunged in the hell of war —
Why what does he know of the country's call,
Or the cause he is suffering for?
But I think when he lies in his pain,
Tortured and torn by the fray,
He must long for the touch of a hand on his mane
And the fields where he used to play.

The world as we see it now
Is only half man-made;
As the horse recedes with a parting bow
We know the part he has played.
For the wonderful brain of man,
However mighty its force,
Had never achieved its lordly plan
Without the aid of the horse.

The forests felled by hand
By the horse were carried away:
And furrow and field were made to yield
By his willing toil each day.
He helped bring true in this age,
The visions our forebears saw;
And oft was given a grudging wage,
Scant fare and a bundle of straw.

The horse has no passion to kill
Like man and the tiger and bear;
Yet slave of a murderous will
To the front of the fight he must fare
Now the heart of a horse has love
For the master and home it knew:
And the mind of a horse can prove
That memory dwells there, too.

Oh, I think on the blood red sod
Each wounded man prays to God:
And I think from the heart of a steed
There must rise in his hour of need
A cry for his master who seems
A god in his equine dreams.
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