Tear Down this “Sanctuary”

Yesterday I was out for a walk in the brisk December air, when I spotted this photo-op. It’s my neighbors horse, and it was staring at me in a way that conjured an idea for this poem.

Please don’t get me wrong, the horse is well-loved and cared for, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the animal was making some type of plea to be released into the wild, and then reacting with hostility when I wouldn’t acquiesce.

The following poem is based on the Elegy style, which often broaches the subjects of loss or reflection. I thought it might work in this case. Please let me know what you think.

Tear off this constraint, Man, cast it to the flames, cut down these iron trees, my spirit they doth taint.
Smug biped, my legs are more than tenfold your strength, four thunderbolts from Zeus, speed to dry out muskegs.
Rip down this “sanctuary,” Man, I’m noble, field and forest beckon my heart,  I’m born for the prairie.
Evil beast, your eyes tell all, no morals to lose a wink, pity filled, hands idle, weak with fear and lies.

I just wanted to add one more thing, not poem related. Blogger Mohamad Al Karbi has created a blog directory, free to all bloggers. I have already signed up. Please click here to learn more and how you can join: New Blog Directory


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Born and raised on a farm near Brockville, Ontario, Mark Bierman's childhood consisted of chores, riding horses, snowmobile races across open fields, fishing trips to a local lake, and many other outdoor adventures. He was also an avid reader of both fiction and non. Transitioning towards adulthood also meant moving from the farm and into large urban areas that introduced this country boy to life in the big cities. After a short stint as a private investigator, he moved into the role of Correctional Officer, working at both Millhaven Institution and Kingston Penitentiary, until it closed.

55 thoughts on “Tear Down this “Sanctuary””

  1. I’m sure even though this gorgeous horse is well cared for, it would delight in a few moments in field and forest. I know field and forest beckons my heart. 🙂 Wonderful imagination, Mark, to write such a powerful poem, to be inspired by this beautiful photo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I d think that most domesticated animals, at least those with loving owners, enjoy being with humans. I think this horse is one of those. It really was just me looking at the horse and going, “What if?”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think your poem does capture the horse’s apparent longing for dignity and freedom. I agree that it’s fascinating to wonder what animals are thinking when their faces appear particuarly expressive to us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved this, Mark. There is something so special about wild horses. I could see the horse wanted to join them, if only for a bit.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Very lovely poem, Mark. I think the image is more of a domestic horse rather than animals in the sanctuary. The animal sanctuary is in the wild but guarded from predictors. I understand that some animals are threatened to extinct but some countries designated certain areas as sanctuary to protect certain species from proaching. Those species slowly increase by numbers. But when those animals step out of the sanctuary, they could run wild, but also face proaching.

    Sorry for this response. We watch the documentary on nature and planet earth for years. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Miriam, yes the horse is a domesticated one. I put double quotation marks around the word sanctuary, to indicate that this animal was not actually in a sancturary. 🙂 Of course there is a need for real sanctuarys and I know this horse is probably not actually thinking about freedom. It was just a more ‘what if’ poem. Thanks for your honest response. Have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like this a lot. I often wonder what the animals see in us – what they perceive to be our lot and theirs. Are they being patient with us? Do they know how much we’re failing them and the planet?

    I know you were only wondering at what that horse was thinking, but you pegged what many people are thinking. We have a better role to play here. I hope to witness us moving toward it. I wonder what it will take?

    Thank you for your words, Mark!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. This poem shows your deep love for freedom on every level. Even though the horse is obviously well-cared for, you could feel his free spirit. Thanks for the blog directory info. I signed up!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Powerful poem! I’m not usually moved by poetry, but this shook me. It’s a story of heroism and nobility, challenge and restraint. You have the core of an epic fantasy novel here. Beautifully written and beautifully illustrated by the horse in the photograph.

    Liked by 4 people

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