The Ministering

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The dominant horse
acted queer:
Ran around in a circle
in his pasture,
finally resting near
a black clump
on the ground.

The black clump moved
every once in awhile.
It was the black dog
that ran wild
along our fence.
He had been shot
and had gotten
as far as the horses,
trying to get home.

What happened next
took my breath away.
The horse stayed
near the dog,
nuzzling with it’s soft lips,
going over and over it’s body
for a long period of time
until there was no movement.

© 2010, I Sleep Between the Moons of New Mexico


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

16 responses to “The Ministering

  1. Caddo Veil

    Wow, Ethel–that is powerful.

  2. Scriptor Obscura

    Wow, is all I can say. Just wow.

  3. Sad topic, but wonderful writing! (The horse made me think of Thomas’s “Salt Bear” – ministering to the injured….)

  4. Ina

    Hi Ethel
    this scene is so moving. Made me cry. Lovely.

  5. eremophila

    Reblogged this on Eremophila’s Musings and commented:
    As always, humans have much to learn by observing the caring nature of animals.

  6. eremophila

    Inter-species caring, when human species cannot treat each other often with such compassion. They are our teachers.

  7. As you say in the poem, this was certainly a breathtaking incident to observe. The Good Samaritan. But the heartbreak of course is in the last line.

  8. I should have paid tribute to your story-telling: you lead up to that last line, in fact the last two words, and once there you stop dead.

  9. Anna Mark

    The horses — an extension of the dog’s home…wonderful poem. I, too, stopped dead in the last line.

  10. Such a heart-breaking story, so beautifully told. Animals have much to teach us about compassion, friendship and loyalty. This is simply wonderful. N.

  11. What a heartbreaking scene…and yet so gentle and sacred…the way the horse eased the dog into death. Your writing gave such heart and dignity to this sad little but large story, Ethel.

  12. Thank you for these comments. love Ethel

  13. Animals really are wonderful nursemaids and caregivers in so many ways we silly humans all too often overlook–and it is our loss!

  14. I often have to struggle trying to forgive people. Animals? Almost never.

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