Feed them some small treat.
Notice the surprised forward flick of ears, 
the lightening and softening
of their large, beautiful eyes.
How kindly they look on you
the next time you approach.
You are not the first to have discovered this.
Soldiers, winter-camped
on drear ill-chosen marshes,
where the great cat Starvation
lifted her paw,
allowed me and beasts to creep
a few inches away from death,
and lay wriggling her haunches,
ready to spring--
these soldiers heartened themselves
by saving morsels of biscuit,
warmed themselves, briefly,
in their horses' gladdening eyes.

1700s Europe


From Hoofprints: Horse Poems by Jessie Haas. Copyright © 2004 by Jessie Haas. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. No part of this book may be used or repoduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019.