Originally written Fall 2009. Edited 2012. Based on the character of Ginger from Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.
In paradise, under
the apple trees at Birtwick
we would graze, prance and talk
Black Beauty, Merrylegs and I
Back when I was young and
ready to learn my job, the men
were all force, holding me down
forcing me to endure the
uncomfortable harnesses and painful bits
shoved into my mouth
but still I fought.
In London they drove
me with a checkrein
forcing to carry my head high,
uncomfortably high for endless hours.
I couldn’t stand it any more,
couldn’t take it any more
so I broke out of the harness and
soon found myself in a new home
under the apple trees.
I then met Black Beauty,
my noble carriage partner
who carried his own share
and was easy to get along with
in and out of harness.
The barn caught fire
the world cloaked in a haze of
smoke, heat and panic
I didn’t know what to do
but then from outside, I heard
Beauty’s familiar whinny
luring me out, beckoning me
But our lovely days together under
the apple trees came to an end
I went to various homes each one
getting progressively worse
each time my lameness came back.
At the end of the line, I ended up
in a horse and cab rental string and
lent out to a man, just wanting to get his
He starved my body, my soul and
with the constant lashing of the whip,
kept me working, working, working
every single day.
I could barely stand,
could barely breathe,
no longer the fiery chestnut
I once was.
I saw Black Beauty again,
though he barely recognized me.
I told him what happened and then
admitted that “I wish I was dead.
I have seen dead horses, and I am sure
they do not suffer pain”.
For a split second a bang echoed
All was silent,
and all was paradise.