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Donald Hall - Name of Horses

All winter your brute shoulders strained against collars, padding 
and steerhide over the ash hames, to haul 
sledges of cordwood for drying through spring and summer, 
for the Glenwood stove next winter, and for the simmering range.

In April you pulled cartloads of manure to spread on the fields, 
dark manure of Holsteins, and knobs of your own clustered with oats.
All summer you mowed the grass in meadow and hayfield, the mowing machine 
clacketing beside you, while the sun walked high in the morning;

and after noon's heat, you pulled a clawed rake through the same acres, 
gathering stacks, and dragged the wagon from stack to stack, 
and the built hayrack back, uphill to the chaffy barn, 
three loads of hay a day from standing grass in the morning.

Sundays you trotted the two miles to church with the light load 
a leather quartertop buggy, and grazed in the sound of hymns. 
Generation on generation, your neck rubbed the windowsill 
of the stall, smoothing the wood as the sea smooths glass.

When you were old and lame, when your shoulders hurt bending to graze,
one October the man, who fed you and kept you, and harnessed you every morning,
led you through corn stubble to sandy ground above Eagle Pond,
and dug a hole beside you where you stood shuddering in your skin,

and lay the shotgun's muzzle in the boneless hollow behind your ear,
and fired the slug into your brain, and felled you into your grave, 
shoveling sand to cover you, setting goldenrod upright above you,
where by next summer a dent in the ground made your monument.

For a hundred and fifty years, in the Pasture of dead horses,
roots of pine trees pushed through the pale curves of your ribs,
yellow blossoms flourished above you in autumn, and in winter
frost heaved your bones in the ground - old toilers, soil makers:

O Roger, Mackerel, Riley, Ned, Nellie, Chester, Lady Ghost. 

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Added: Mar 17 2005 | Viewed: 6961 times | Comments and analysis of Name of Horses by Donald Hall Comments (8)

Name of Horses - Comments and Information

Poet: Donald Hall
Poem: Name of Horses

Comment 8 of 8, added on February 11th, 2012 at 9:29 PM.
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yS0qFl Good day! I do not see the conditions of using the information. May I copy the text from here on my site if you leave a link to this page?!...

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Comment 7 of 8, added on February 11th, 2012 at 8:19 PM.
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c3jjV4 Internet is written with the capital letter in a sentence, by the way. And hundredths are written not with a point but with a comma. This is according to the standard. And actually everything is very good..!

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Comment 6 of 8, added on July 21st, 2011 at 11:03 AM.
good blog

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