spinning and sharing

Caballo Rojo

In Poetry on April 22, 2010 at 6:08 am

Caballo Rojo

In those deep quiet channels

Where whispers die with yells

He bursts from boiling waters

Like ten thousand bells

Death’s head rearing back

Long nosed,  cold and gray

A whinny akin to

Cerberus’s bay.

Seen never by eyes, living or sane

Racing starved through screaming forests,

and frozen, anguished plains.

The windy hooves so fast

with the speed of famine, swift as plague

The horse cuts swaths through dappled dreams

And the best of men fall and fade

The red steed, the terror, the dread

Gallops hourglass steady, ready

-Tick tock, tick tock-

Dead ahead.

Among plowshares and

wars where blood runs red,

The red, red blood,

The mad Death’s head.

Amongst grinning skulls now,

the skulls of warriors, fools

Swept in nightmare tide

But also innocence, too

There were innocents, Two

In his wake no hopeless lovers,

nor morrow’s dew,

Their last embrace tight

before they, the black horse slew.

Phantasmal coil, the chrismal fear

That half-flayed gorgon, when he nears

Has no pity for you, or for me, my dear…

…save a tear.

A tear?

“A tear!” one bold child one night said

In the warm candled cottage, fingers clinging to bread

“I’ve seen them dead eyes shed tears

On nights black as lead,

I’ve seen the brightest stars fall

From that sad Death’s Head

And I know it’s a sad job, spreading the death that he spreads.”

Hush child, now hush!

You foolish bad luck scamp

You’d like the Reaper himself

To sit in our laps?

And they cackled and laughed:

“Go to bed, and make haste!”

While they smiled and clinked glasses

Eyes merry with waste.

Sin or no sin, they’d lived happy lives

Though not one of them wished

For their own last sunrise,

Their talk turned to griffons

Chimeras, caged

Of the adder folk, wispins,

And the hobgoblin sage.

Then to coins, politics, breeding,

And age

Then to Parson Gray’s daughter

And her husband’s quick rage.

And the child, silent pouting

Took the steps out of sight

While watching above them,

On that sugar starred night,

waiting to swoop and unleash his blight,

from a speckled blood moon,

where the ghosts go to wed

A  tear fell from the eye

of the grieving Death’s head.


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