The Terrified Horses of History

The Terrified Horses of History

You see them portrayed, again and again.

Eyes rolling in Terror, Nostrils flared,

rearing up against the brutal bridle & bit,

flanks scarred from the lashing whip,

the Victim & Witness of Human Savagery,

the Terrified Horses of History.

This Meme or Motif recurs many times

down the long years

in all those portraits & paintings

of Great Generals & Kings.

From Alexander the Great

to Napoleon the Midget

an accusing Equine Eye stares out

at the Beholder

of mosaics, oil-paintings and prints

and asks,

“Why am I here?!

Why are you making me do this?”.

I’ll tell you something else you’ll see

in all those vast, Canvas monstrosities

you find infesting Presidential Mansions & Museums,

(swollen like Sails with their own Self-Importance)

the one’s Emperors commission to commemorate

their Days of Victory, Pomp & Triumph;

always one Horse with a cynical, mocking eye

will be looking back out of the pack

of great, ham-hocked hacks

prancing beneath Princes & Prelates

complacently reviewing the troops

about to Die. (Or those that survived.)

One lone, mute, incredulous Animal Witness,

giving you “the Wink”,

and laughing itself hoarse

at the Folly and Futility

of Human Pretensions.


Now, Artists down the long Ages

are mostly all the same,

though Anarchists at Heart

still they know the Game;

“If you’re painting a portrait

on a Contract basis,

you’d best produce a product

to your Masters’ Tastes.”


So generally there is not a lot of room

for Self-Expression, or “Prophets of Doom”.

Like Pacifists, Cowards or other Doubters,

the Artist would be Drawn..

then thoroughly Quartered.

So the Client’s Ego must be stroked,

but peering through the battle’s smoke,

one equine eye winks at the Joke.



The Reverend Hellfire was a practised Performance Poet,

back in the Before Time.

Now he stalks the empty streets, a lone Spectre

chanting his Poetry to Ghosts. 

Rats scurry amongst the shadows.

Vines tear at the crumbling buildings.


~ by reverendhellfire on April 12, 2020.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: