Poem by Michael Leamy:
The echo of your timid hoof beats slapped
The silence of the night. The monster path
You crossed meandered, serpent-like, between
Your fountain and your feast, and so, you risked
The daily crossing, never knowing when
The distant roaring sea or moaning wind
Might mask the rising racket of the beast
That rushed upon you. Heartless, mindless thing,
It came around the bend that silent night.
Its glowing eyes reflected in your own.
You froze. The monster merely snapped at you
In passing. Searing pain knifed through you. Down
The path the monster fled, and with it took
Your leg. The darkness closed again around
You, filled you as you tumbled through the air,
To land, a broken, senseless little thing,
Concealed by sedges that received you, closed
Above you, as you lingered there between
The living and the dead. The bed of leaves
And grasses cushioning your fall were from
Another year, and yet they served again,
As did the ones that lived and sheltered you.
With gentle rain, your Maker bathed your wounds
And soothed your fevered body. Weighted down
With dew, the berry vines and ivy eased
Your thirst and nourished you just long enough
To seal your ghastly wound. Necessity
At last compelled you to attempt to rise.
You failed. You failed again. Each awkward try
Renewed your hurt, as useless muscles tried
To move your missing leg. You staggered, fell,
And lurched again, to stand on trembling legs,
Endeavoring to balance now on three.
At last, you took a lunging step, and fell,
Fresh vines within your reach. You rested there,
And ate, and staggered up again. You leaned,
Stepped forward with your two front legs, then humped
Your back and dragged your one remaining leg.
You stopped, then suffered through another step.
One agonizing step was followed by
Another, and another, as you learned
To walk again, not far, not fast, nor with
The grace that once was yours. But, step by step,
You lived again. Through healing months, you learned
To run. Two years...no, more than that... you move
Through life with halting steps, but so do I.