In Australian vernacular
he was a ‘flea-bitten’ grey.
Not dappled like a dream horse
but speckled like a rock and not a
fine large horse like Tom Cable’s
Dad, had traded for him- two rolls of barbed wire
and a fence strainer. He came with a used saddle
and bridle and the high spirits of
the seldom ridden.
Before he would let us mount him, Dad
knew he had to take the 'curry' out of him.
Rode him hard, through a ploughed paddock.
Rode him until he stood in a foaming sweat
ears sideways, subdued.
I can’t forget being led, those first few rides
“Don’t let go of his head, Dad” I’m not ready
yet,” and I knew the horse sensed the trembling
in my being, until one day his bone- jarring trot
became a solved puzzle.
I felt a gathering- a sense of balance between the
pony’s mouth, the stirrups and the reins
and from a secret fulcrum
I was posting, “Let him go now, Dad”
I shouted, and my heart and soul were
floated to some rhythmic magic.
Around the homestead once and back
I pulled the reins, “Whoa boy!”
That first halt, obeyed, filled my head
for days and days.
Not long after The Beginning,
There were Animals and there was Man.
A great chasm lay between, that legend said
Only a Leap of Faith could span.
Animals seemed happy on their side;
For, after all, such a leap could not be done
“Make the best it,” they all said;
All, that is, but one.
There stood Dog, alone upon the brink,
The distant Man’s reflection shining in his eyes;
Something was robbing Dog of peace;
Something was urging him to try.
Compelled, he stood and stared,
Nothing could distract his gaze.
Now and then, Horse would come;
Each time, the same old words to say.
“I understand. I really do.
I admit it. I’ve thought about it too;
But it’s too far for me to jump,
It’s certainly too far for you”.
One day, as Horse spoke his words,
Cat rudely interrupted with a sneer.
“Go ahead and try. You’ll break your silly neck.
You can’t go there. Your place is here”.
More resolute now, his vigil became duty;
Still, he often wondered, “Why?”
But something deep inside kept saying,
“You must. You must. It’s do…or die”.
Then, one day, he turned and walked away.
Oh, yes, he’d need a running start.
He knew now, he had the Will;
But only a Leap of Faith could prove his Heart.
Just before he made his Leap of Faith,
Dog saw the loneliness in Man’s eyes.
“He needs a friend, someone to help
And always stand right by”.
With those unselfish thoughts,
Dog had reason, he felt whole.
And well he should, for at that very moment,
God granted Dog a Soul!
But Souls don’t come so easy,
And his leap was short that day.
If Dog was to make a Leap of Faith,
Man would have the final say.
Dog’s faith was truly tested, front paws upon the edge.
He hoped Man’s eyes hadn’t lied.
Then Man’s Heart swelled and touched his Soul.
He helped Dog up and placed him proudly at his side.
Oh, so jealous was Cat I’m told;
His eyes turned green that day.
“Oh, you are an heroic mutt;
A friend of Man, you say?
I’ll make that leap by myself.
You can bet, I’ll find a way”.
So, Dog had made the Leap of Faith.
He and Man became Best Friends.
So it shall be, for all eternity;
That is to say, until the Very End.