We watch them farely glide
Across tracks of flying dirt.
Seldom do we really surmise
Any soon will be grievously hurt.
Reality’s lessons now should suffice,
Warn us all of the unending
Strife of their facts of life:
Their hearts ever will try, unbending.
Hoofs and hearts are buried here and there,
Signs of long bones broken short
Of the wire to which they tear
Without quit, neither hesitant snort.
Brave G.W., fillies Ruffian and Eight Belles
Misstepped, stumbled, stopped, went out
Before we were ready; it tells
That we still need to shout about
Thoroughbreds and their tenuous plight,
Creatures of training, however, frail
In their expected, difficult fight
To please while we pursue bragging tales.
Rewilding, too, died, and this for
England’s George VI and Queen Elizabeth
In the stakes of their royal lore.
He now is Heaven’s uplifted gift.
Sublime Barbaro, several years gone,
Never met the Preakness Stakes wire.
Slipping under foot, his last song;
His lasting legacy, never to sire.
Thoroughbred broken bones, our own woes;
We lead them to an unrelenting gate
To vanquish their contemporary foes
While we admire strength, mindless of cruel fates.
Ours, they proudly go, ready, able,
Prancing to the start, not knowing
Varied agendas upon owners’ tables.
Nickering they go, high-stepping, blowing.
Shall we stop the trend of bones
Broken as we send them to act
Out our own fantasies and tones?
Or finally, willing, face fatal facts?
Poem and Drawing from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg