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Friday, 6 December 2013

A Lost Generation

  They burned the horse.
 Petrol across her fine ebony flanks.
 Swirls and curlicues of peacock, blue and green,
 shimmering, undulating in the setting sun.
 Her proud eyes, magnificent beneath whisper of soft lash.
 Unused to the whoops, the flaying belts, the gurriers kicking
 at her belly.
 Her heartbeat pushing the mackerel mane in and out. Out and in.
 Nickering with the cloying oils.
 She whinnied, shook herself, showering the boys
 with petrol drops.
 Her mane and tail like candle wick as she shrieked
 and bucked burnt hair on November wind.
 They no longer whooped.
 She watched them through the smoke,
 smouldering beside her.
 Skin sizzling and popping - unable to flick
 the equine fireballs from cloth and hair.
 And as she died, horsemeat to the gang,
 she found she had no pity.
 No sorry in her thud-thud, thud, quietened heart.
Horse doused in petrol and set alight

 ©Mari Maxwell


  1. Mari, my brain is reeling from the horror of this act, this callous cruel violence to an animal....your words are so strong, so vivid..but I am still in shock at this event...
    How can people do these things? But tragically we know human beings are capable of the most horrific and totally brutal acts....

    Your poem shows this only too well....

  2. And Re reading, it is boys....oh God !!!!

  3. Well penned Mari. I remember the same when I was about 18 so not a new phenomenan but so sad that humanity can sink this low.

  4. It's hard to wonder how someone can do something like this. There's some question whether the horse was alive or dead before being burned. Either way it still defies my logic. Thanks a bunch for comments Barbara and Katharine.

  5. Really enjoyed 'Lost Generation'. The poem manages to bring images both beautiful and horrifying together . Descriptions like 'Her mane and tail like candle wick as she shrieked/ and bucked burnt hair on November wind.', convey a sense of the horses resilience and its helplessness. I read an article only a few days ago about a lion being butchered for food in a Syrian Zoo. Yes I agree with previous comments, that faced with a set of circumstances humans in all societies can reach depraved levels of behaviour. Likewise the events in the film 'The Road', (based on Cormac McCarthy's novel) - are for me a disturbing possibility. What's sad about the killing of the horse is it wasn't a desperate act among starving people, but a heartless one. How any person/group could not feel empathy for the suffering of an animal is beyond me. Having said if supermarkets were legally compelled to show film footage of how animals are reared and killed for our consumption, more of us might become vegetarians ! Let me know if I can read more of your poetry. Thank you again.

  6. Bryn, thanks so very, very much for your feedback. Yes heartless and lack of empathy. Terrifying combinations. I have a couple of other poems/flash fiction on here as well as in The Galway Review, Bray Arts Journal, Haiku J which you can catch online. Or just Google my name and Galway and it should keep you busy for a while! :) Thanks so, so much again.

  7. Mari,
    I just found this poem and am so saddened :( Your poem is powerful, catches the suffering of this poor horse, shocking, so very shocking but you are some writer dear friend. Hugs and hugs Maire xxx

  8. Mari,
    thank you for sharing this very sad write.
    I enjoy this powerful write.