Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Hearing Hoofbeats"

This poem came out of the January 2018 [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam. It was inspired and sponsored by [personal profile] ng_moonmoth. It also fills the "sleepy times" square in my 4-3-17 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem belongs to the unicorn series. (Any ideas for a series title?)

"Hearing Hoofbeats"

When the heat of summer fades,
the fever comes in its place.

The farmers in the fields
cannot bring in the grain if
too many of their hands fall ill.

The barbers and apothecaries
who go from town to town
run out of their pots and
herbs to treat the sickness.

Even the traveling menagerie
with its lions and zebras and bears
is stalled by the side of the road.

The healers in their saffron robes
go around the villages, gathering up
all those stricken with the illness.

They take the fevered to the temples
in the wilderness, in hopes that
no one else will catch it.

Then they ring the bells.

At the sound of tolling brass,
they come, they come,
spilling out of the forest
like so many sunbeams.

The unicorns are coming
to cure the fever.

The mares arrive with
their half-grown foals,
coats burnished by
the healers' prayers.

They stand to be milked,
but only so long as it takes,
flitting back to the forest as soon
as the healers let go of their teats.

A single spoonful is enough
to cure any illness, even
the summer's-end fever.

It lulls the afflicted
into a healing sleep
that soon restores health.

When you hear hoofbeats,
don't think of zebras, for it is not
the menagerie that will save the day;
and don't think of horses, for the barbers
and the apothecaries can't save you either.

When you hear hoofbeats,
think of unicorns,

the bringers of miracles.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing

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