Northwords Now Issue 39

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Jack's Shires

by Derek Crook

Such elegance they had,
those massive horses.
I marvelled on the frosty morning
when I first turned up for work.

Together they calmly galleoned into the light
from the black shed that held their mooring,
Jack between them,
his hands high
to hook his fingers in their bridles.

They minced across the frosty cobbles,
pale feathers tossing over
delicate and heavy hooves
that struck metallic thuds
on the uneven stones.

Four enormous haunches,
two black, two brown,
gleamed richly in the rigid light
as side by side they sipped
icy water from the rusty trough.
Both tilted one rear hoof
like dancers asking for a pump to be inspected.

They raised their heads together,
muzzles dripping and moved with dignity
towards the craft they'd mastered.