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

By Jack Knox
11/19/2008 • Online Bonus

AND in the cutting chill The war horse ached. Ached under his drying sweat And drying blood. A once alert, Clearheaded "General’s mount," Stunned and trembling From the shock and pain. Jaded. Limping to the holders In the rear. No bugles And no drumbeats here, Only fading sounds across the field. THE HOLDERS slipped the bridle From his lowered head, Wiped the sweat marks From his cheeks and neck. Bathed the blood-red foam From mouth and nostrils, Sponged his wounds, Applied a stinging ointment. They washed his knees And hocks And pasterns. "It’s Roderick! The General’s mount! Bring the water bucket to him." Roderick, The General’s mount Trained in his master’s ways. Trained to jump A fence or wall or gulley, To back and wheel, To follow where the General went, To follow closely, Ready for an instant need. And he followed him from training, But he followed, too, From love. THE stinging ointment touched a spark of feeling. The water gave refreshment To his spirit. He raised his head a little, Cocked an ear, And listened . . . In the distance There was shooting And it echoed in the hills. The General always rode To the shooting. HE TURNED to face the sound. His ears were up and pointing. His head was clearing now. He moved a little, Toward the sound, The holders started to him. Shouting "whoa" He moved a little faster, Stiff and aching, Toward the shooting. "WHOA" they shouted, "Head ‘im!" He broke into a trot. To a painful, labored gallop To the General. [continued on next page]