Lord of the Plains

River & Flowers Walk 237aSunlight gleams on the gold wave crests,
And the silver strands of his flowing mane
Lift in the wind like seagulls’ wings.

Alone on the crest of the rolling hill,
So sleek and swift, so wilful, strong and wild,
The lord of the plains surveys his endless realm,
Where tasselled grasses, tawny-gold and green
Bow down their heads as if at his command.

His forelock lifts at the wind’s caressing touch,
His nostrils fill with strange, yet distant scents;
He sends his call over the wilderness
Where blossoming flowers and graceful grasses
Cover the swelling hills and sheltered vales.

Sunlight gleams on the gold wave crests,
And the silver strands of his flowing mane
Lift in the wind like seagulls’ wings.

As a swimmer rejoices in the deep,
Or dolphins leap and ride the raging surf,
He breasts the breakers on the rising slopes
With effortless ease, like an albatross
Swooping low over the ocean’s bosom.

In the strength of his unchallenged lordship
He races the wind across the great plain,
While his mares and foals in their distant vale
Hearing the clarion trumpet call,
Respond to his imperious summons.

Sunlight gleams on the gold wave crests,
And the silver strands of his flowing mane
Lift in the wind like seagulls’ wings.

Head held high, he now stands to wait for those
Who, filled with joy, are hurrying to his side
To share their soft breath with their noble lord.
Soon the earth will tremble beneath their hooves
As he leads them down to the waterside.

                          ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

These are the last glad days of their freedom,
The end of their peace in the houseless wild;
For strange new sounds trouble the age-old land
The rumbling of wheels and the rattle of guns
Foretell the doom of the wild and the free.

The gold wave crests will be trampled down,
The silver strands of his plaited mane
Will no longer lift like seagulls’ wings;

His wildness tamed, his spirit broken,
He’ll carry the loads of those who stole his realm.

Written originally as a Whitehaven Writers’ ‘homework’ with the title ‘The Horses’. This form is based around the natural iambic rhythms of spoken English, with a count of 10 syllables per line – more or less.
The First Nations weren’t the only ones who lost the freedom of the plains at the coming of the European settlers.


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