Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BIG MARE, by MARK VAN DOREN

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BIG MARE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The grass is deep in the field, and her four legs
Last Line: To-morrow will come a boy. Is she to forget?
Subject(s): Animals; Horses

The grass is deep in the field, and her four legs
Sink out of sight. She plunges lazily on
To a fresh circle, whence she lifts her head
And looks across the fences to the barn.
No voice from there, no swing of any door.
She lowers her nose to the ground, but suddenly shifts,
Looks up again, and stares into the quiet.
Yesterday, and so long as she remembers,
At this good hour there sounded a shrill cry:
"Here, Chunk! Here, Chunk! Here, Chunk!" and two thin arms
Were waved from a dark opening in the wall.
Now nothing; so she feeds until the sun
Comes cooler over the meadow, and starts home.
Her feet trample on clover, and her breast
Moves with superfluous might against the weeds.
She plows across the creek and through the gap,
Is half-way up the hillside; still no shout,
No corn upon an aged, trembling hand.
She hesitates, as if the barn were gone,
Had never been just here, and gazes long
At the half-opened door, then stumbles through.
Some stranger has thrown nubbins in the box;
Her salt is there, the timothy is down.
She munches, while no words are in her nostrils;
No feet in boots too big for them clump by.

The weak old man who never failed has failed.
Yet foolish whisperings, not of the hay, are heard:
Spidery ghosts of fingers now caress her,
Swiftly over a shoulder, down a flank,
Smoothing, smoothing her mane till evening is night.
Does a plain mare remember? And how long?
To-morrow will come a slap and a careless whistle.
To-morrow will come a boy. Is she to forget?

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