The General's Mount: a Poem on General Forrest's Horse | HistoryNet MENU

The General’s Mount: a Poem on General Forrest’s Horse

By Jack Knox
11/19/2008 • Online Bonus

THE BLOOD from deep inside Began to color flecks of foam about the bit. And pink the moisture in his heavy breath. And yet the pain, Sharp and searing hot, Appeared to make no difference in his stride. For this great chestnut gelding, Dark with sweat, Was all a war horse; In his pace And in his sinew, Bone and blood . . . and in his heart. The towering General, light-reined horseman – Light in the saddle, too- Felt the shot That hit the horse beneath him. There is Some indescribable communion Between a man and horse Who’ve shared the roughest roads, The longest hours, The hardest battles; A singleness of spirit, faith unflagging. The General felt the pain As though the gelding’s wound was in himself; It tightened muscles in his jaws and throat. AND then the second shot Struck hard the chestnut’s side. And then the third. Stunning. Staggering. His powerful and easy stride Became a labored lunge, Steadied only by the General’s balanced weight And sure band. The war horse gathered- With every ounce of courage in his heart- To carry on, To fight the mission through. Calmingly, . The General reined him in. And stepping down He loosed the girth And lightly slipped the saddle to the ground. THE GENERALS young lieutenant, Aide de camp- His son- Reined up, Dismounted; Took the General’s horse and gave his own. Scarcely a word was passed, No orders given- None bad to be- As the General, With one backward glance, rode on. And Willie led The wounded war horse from the field And to the rear. Away from powder smoke And battle strain. Into the chill of early March, Into the quieter countryside In Tennessee. To the horse holders beyond the second hill. [continued on next page]

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