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Hawk's air-springed muscles helped him glide,
So swiftly down the mountain side.
With sinew bulging spotted rump,
he vaulted o'r a rocky hump.
Descendant of Chief Joseph's herd,
Hawk's canter was like a flying bird.
Swollen streams couldn't break his stride.
His head held high with Nes Pierce pride.
I rode that steed with fleeting speed,
his strong legs breaking through high weed.
Hailstones splattered, horseshoes clattered
and a flock of wild grouse chattered.
On shale slid Hawk, tripped and stumbled,
down the slope we flipped and tumbled.
The snow flakes started swirling down,
as I lay hurt, on rocky ground.
I was dazed, my body aching.
Dizzy, sore and both legs shaking.
We both felt pain from head to toes,
Yet hurt, Hawk raised me with his nose.
I wrapped my wounds and mounting, moaned,
said " Come Hawk, now take us home".

Around his neck my arms were tied
As he started down the mountain side.
I dreamed of being safe and warm
As Hawk plowed through that raging storm.
And somewhere on that awful trek
I slumped across that great arched neck.
Then thoughts came flooding in my head,
my wife sat crying by my bed.
I won't forget those words she said,
"He brought you home...but Hawk is dead.
For three whole days you've been asleep.
The snow outside is five feet deep.
Once you were home safe and sound,
Hawk whinnied once, then dead fell down."
She said "He brought you here on will,
and fell when coming down that hill.
His legs were gone, but still he came,
and when he stopped you breathed his name"
"Oh, no! My God it just can't be."
The screams were coming out of me.
"Oh, please don't tell me Hawk has died!"
Then my wife held me while I cried.
I know he wasn't man, of course.
But just a big ol spotted horse.
So tell me, should I miss him so?
My friend who took me through the snow.

Poetry by Don Bendell

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