Foal Watch

Tiny untravelled rubbery white hooves
Lay still in the golden cradle of straw.
Early light glistens over the waves of steaming new born hair
Freshly released from its sweet embryonic waters.
This interlude of complacency is quickly relinquished
To the harsh reality and ancient will for survival.

Lazy eyes try to focus with intensity
Upon discovery of this unfathomable world.
Anxious to catch every haunting minute sound,
Ears not yet strengthened by constant movement
Flop listlessly at half-mast in the cool night air.
Long muzzle whiskers tickle and retreat at the slightest touch
As they search in some semblance for recognition
Of what, it does not know.
No longer muted by womb's protected slumber,
It frantically beckons for its detached mother.
A soft wise deep nicker responds in kind
As a soothing lick gives solace to her little one.

With an inborn sense of urgency and parental authority,
The mare nudges the flesh deprived bony quarters
Encouraging them to engage at once.
Struggle upon struggle,
It rises on curl bound limbs,
Representative of uneasy towers.
Intoxicated by gravity's firm pull,
It battles against its compromising effects
And weaves desperately to remain bolt upright.
Its tottering weight goes down, hard with no apology.

Flared nostrils draw in a smorgasbord of unmasked scents
Expanding virgin lungs with a tingle of precious oxygen.
Its small body heaves with exhaustion and renewed exhilaration.
All systems now self sustaining and pumping to their max
It braces to stand again, this time with acquired fortitude.
Guided by the miracle and magnetic force of instinct
Contentment and belonging is found
In a warm feast of security, nourishment and want
As it passionately suckles from a fulsome teat.