The Pacific Northwest Forum
Volume 5, Number 1, Page 31
Spring, 1979

STOCK KILL AT ROCK LAKE

By Bob Wilson

Bob Wilson is a graduate teaching assistant in the English Department of Eastern Washington University. He is working on a Masters Degree in Creative Writing. The poem is in Anglo-Saxon measure.

Splashes of silver                          Broke their soft slumber,
Rain on the scab-rock                   Rattled, rebounded;
Pounding the pasture                    With peals of proud thunder,
Defeating the drouth season          Filling deep ditches
With swift-running water              Wild and willful.
The horses were huddled              Their hides wet and heavey;
They crouched in a corner            White-eyed at the crashing,
Fearing the flashes                        Of close flying flames there.
Neighing and nervous                  They bolt at near misses,
Exploding stone startles them       Spooking, stampeding;
In terror they tear                          Into twisted bared wire,
Savagely slashing                         They plunge through the strands.
Possessed by their panic               Hearts puming and pounding,
Daring all danger                          They drive towards he darkness;
Flanks flayed by iron                    Flesh hangs on the fence line,
Shock-filled and screaming           They scramble through sage brush
Blind in their blood-craze              Unknowing they blunder
Straight down the slope                 To the cliffs of the shore;
Heaving, hard running                   The whole herd of horses
Are dashed to their deaths              On the rain-darkened rock.