Horse shoes grate
against the cobbled yard.
Warriors of darkness
frisk in the blinding light,
seeing only with the sound
of the haulier’s voice.
Eyes looking inward,
searching for a rope to follow,
a rail to guide them home.

They kick at the light,
tormented by its nakedness.
Huddling in a corner,
feeling for the shelter of darkness.
With his secret command,
the haulier restrains their confusion
and his team falls into line.

Three proud colliery horses stand alert,
ready to march into their
field of confinement.
Two weeks of bewilderment,
where their eyes stare towards
sounds of a passing tractor,
and ears prick to the last song
of the blackbird,
learning quickly the call of night.

Rowland Hughes ©