I watch them running in the dusk

Chestnut, white and gray.

That one old girl is way out front

She always gets her way.


Dry and spare, hot-blooded,

Desert in her blood and bone,

In these green Missouri pastures

That now call her their own


She runs connected to a world

She’s never even known.

A harsh mysterious sun-scoured land

Eliminates the weak.


Those survive and prosper

Who leave softness behind

In searing days and freezing nights

A pattern is refined.


From harshness came this beauty

This fire, this grace, this speed

Stripped of nonessentials

A message in this breed?


The cool of evening turns them on,

The gray mare takes the lead.

She has a single rival,

A tiny date brown sprite.


She’s got the speed but not the fire

The old gray owns the right

To choose the pace and choose the course

And thunder into night,


Streaming across the meadow

Flying manes and bannered tails

Float above the hoof beats,

Now the sunset pales.


Dimming light is stealing them,

Hoof beats fade away.

I watch them running in the dusk,

The gray mare leads the way.


Skeeter Leard


Skeeter Leard