Selling Radman’s Grey

The final lot.  In a deserted maze
Of hurdles, polite circuit of the ring
Discharged, she shakes her dripping mane.
It parts each side of a mild dark eye.

Who will start me with twenty pounds?
Radman, square as his pigs but not naïve,
Leans his bulk on the fence, chews his pipe;
Stares at the drizzle, at the rough-knuckled hands
Driving a last skittering sheep up a ramp.

Twenty-four over there.  Twenty-six.  Twenty-eight.
Her damp-silvered flanks steam gently.
For thirteen years she pulled the pig-float,
Suffered fat-legged boys to be lifted to ride
Who now swagger new motors through town.

Twenty-eight.  Twenty-eight.  Any more, gentlemen?
Beneath a fresh curtain of rain, coatless
Lads under empty bale-sacks rush to the
Tea stall canopy.  Radman turns his head from
The patient, scarce shifting of plinth-like hoof.

…Gone, at twenty-eight.  Congratulations, sir.
Enough for a truck.  In his hand, a paper
Promise for his pieces of silver;
Radman blinks as the mare is led off,
Her prints fleeting frowns on the stone.

Elaine Ewart, Fenland Poet Laureate
May 2012

Written for the King’s School Ely Jubilee Country Show

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