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MANFRED VIJARS
Australia
About Manfred Vijars

 

 

Brumby—Caballus Ferum
 

NIGHT

Evening’s mist is thick and moist, it chills the valley floor.
the Horse head in Orion's belt has bedded for the night
and Scorpio is rising so Centaurus starts his walk.
The Southern Cross begins to turn as Brumby finds respite.

He's sheltered from the bracing air in thick acacia scrub
though drifting in his slumber—still alert and geared for flight.
The wattles are his blanket tucked between the gums and rocks;
his bottom lip hangs listlessly—he’s in pain tonight.

This once proud Bay, dark copper hide, dramatic in the sun—
flaunting flowing mane and tail—a wild, equine elite.
Contrasting to the scarred and battle-weary quadruped
resting in recovery after tasting his defeat.

The night wears on and Brumby shifts then shivers in his pain.
Recounting blows across his frame, each kick and bite and butt
from agile limbs and high hormones. He did the walk of shame.
The colt—bravado on a roll, performed a victory strut.

Brumby's mares and progeny will now be lost to him.
unless he decides to have a rematch and succeeds.
But there'll be more ambitious studs waiting to contend
for his former status. But that's gone now, he concedes.

Centaurus promenades some more. The cold and pain combine
to wake old Brumby up again. He shivers, then he sees
a lush green field in noon-day sun. He shakes his head and snorts
the vision flees and dark returns; he feels a slight unease.

The gaping wounds are puffy but the weeping has now stopped.
His breathing has improved though he feels weary and well-worn.
His vision sometimes blurs until the throbbing goes away;
but there is solace in his rest. He'll stay here till the dawn.


MORNING

The Centaur's hooves have walked the night; the Cross gives way to dawn
the mist is thick above the creek as sunbeams crack the sky.
Old Brumby stirs then takes a look, he snorts—his muscles twitch.
Another snort—that starts the pounding pain above his eye.

All seems clear above the mist, he knows when he descends
down to the creek the shroud could either be a friend or foe.
His muscles ache as he steps out to get himself a drink
and gingerly each hoof is placed—purposeful and slow.

The water's cold, and ice has formed in still pools near the banks
Condensation rises from his nostrils as he drinks,
The ears, rotating silently, are filtering for risk.
One sound is out of place. He peers into the creamy ink.

Satisfied he’s in no jeopardy he leaves the creek
and up the western slope along a well remembered track.
The morning's rays are warming where they penetrate the trees.
The stiffness is releasing and his strength is coming back.

The throbbing in his head persists and dulls his vision some;
and as he climbs his lesions weep through thick and crusty scabs.
Knocked about and battered—he is not a pretty sight.
But beauty's incidental to sure hoofs on rocky slabs.

One long scar across his wither was inflicted by
a bullet, from a chopper that he managed to outsmart.
The others are from bite marks during violent challenges
to his dictatorship. His was the more tenacious heart.

His battles well behind him now, he's strengthened by the climb.
One open bushland glade was where he caught a cooling breeze;
then something stirred; and once again the vision of green fields
flashes brightly, then it's gone. He nickers his unease.


NOON

He pushes on his pace improves—the scrub is thinning now.
At last he’s at the ridge's crest—the effort was hard won.
The tangles in his mane and tail present a tattered view
but he stands proud, his sweaty hide is glistening in the sun.

Across a narrow gap, there is a plateau he's drawn too.
Familiar lush sweet fields of green appear through wafting haze.
He feels familiar stirrings as the scent entices him -
the promise of some mares; he hasn’t seen a herd in days.

The sun has peaked. He checks the gap then checks it once again
He finds it well within his reach. Grass beckons in the Sun.
His vigour has returned again. His muscles twitch—he snorts.
He looks across the gap once more and starts his little run.

He reaches high into the air—the sun seemed to explode
through the cloud as he stretched and made the near plateau.
Landing softly in the grass he did not turn to see
his body tumbling silently to the valley floor below.

© 2011, Manfred Vijars
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Manfred comments, "Many folk seem to think that a 'brumby stallion' is equivalent to a top thoroughbred. In reality he can be likened more to a battered prize-fighter or worn out tent-show boxer who must be constantly fighting for survival. This story-poem is about one day in the life of an old brumby stallion."


 


 

  About Manfred Vijars:
                                                    
provided, 2011


Manfred's parents immigrated to Australia when he was two. Dad, Russian-born Latvian, and Mum, Polish-born German, makes him mongrel-bred, but Australian by choice. Manfred worked in numerous jobs around Australia, steel-fixer on the Snowy Mountains Scheme, road gang on the Nullabour, cane cutter in Ingham and croc shooter in the Territory, before a stint in the Services and an IT Degree as a mature-age student. This has given him a rich well of life's experiences to draw from. His award winning poetry (and song-writing) reflect insight, sensitivity and humour.

Manfred is the current serving president of the Australian Bush Poets Association.

 


 

 

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