I went to work for him that year,
by Debra Coppinger Hill
early on in the fall.
It was my job to help feed,
water and clean the stalls.
The quarter horses that he raised
were among the finest to be seen;
Then there were the mustangs,
rough and rank and mean.
From time to time the mustangs
would somehow make an escape.
No matter how carefully it was chained,
they seemed to be able to open the gate.
Then we’d saddle up and we’d chase ‘em
and push ‘em back to the pens.
When it came to the mustangs,
trouble knew no end.
He never really answered
when I’d ask him why,
He kept these three, who were dangerous,
with such wildness in their eyes.
Once, he said, ”They’re the last of our kind,
a rare and special breed;
Spirits not of this earth,
waiting to be freed.”
This didn’t help me understand
the mustangs or this man;
Who seemed to keep them at all costs,
though they didn’t wear his brand.
Then, one day as we fed, I saw him,
as He took loose the chain.
Softly, he said, “Come with me.”
and we walked to the truck in the rain.
We rode that old truck up to the hill
where we could see for miles.
Motioning to the tailgate, he bade me sit
and gave me a knowing smile.
Below, the mustangs had finished their feed
and as if they had good sense,
They began their morning journey
around their pasture, checking fence.
When they came to the gate
for a moment they did pause,
And gave a glance towards the hill
as if they knew the cause.
I remember those next few moments,
forever, they are etched into my mind;
And the emotion I felt as we sat there in silence,
never again shall I find.
We watched them bolt from the gate
running for all they were worth;
All four feet up off the ground,
Flying, between Heaven and Earth.
The explanation that he gave
was unnecessary to give;
But his words ring in my memory
all the days I live.
He said, “I let them go sometimes
so I can remember, when I see;
What it’s like to break loose,
and truly, be Free.
For awhile I’m allowed, by Grace of God,
to be a part of wondrous, unseen forces...
And that, my fine young friend,
is why I keep Wild Horses.”