Of the Thunder of Hooves, a Poem

Updated on September 14, 2018
Jodah profile image

John has been writing poetry since his school days. He was awarded "Poet of the Year 2014" Hubby Awards and has had two poems become songs.

Of the Thunder of Hooves

Ominous storm clouds gather and swirl,

Changing form like a gathering of eerie shape-shifters.

As I stare at the turbulent late afternoon sky in awe

They transform into a dozen black stallions.

Their ghostly riders pulling the reins

In a hesitant and temporary restraint,

Until the time is right

And the angry steeds can be released

To wreak their havoc.

More and more dark horses join the herd,

Bucking and snorting as they move slowly closer.

Lightning flashes in the distance,

And I recall "the Charge of the Light Brigade"

At the Battle of Balaclava,

And the poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Suddenly, the spectres release the reins

As there is a loud CRASH!

And the sound of the thunder of hooves can be heard

Galloping fearlessly across the sky.

Thunder claps, lightning strikes, and rain buckets down

In this cumulonimbus assault from the heavens.

Is this a sign from an angry God

Disappointed with his creation,

Or just his wish to demonstrate

A small sample of his awesome power?

Fierce winds howl and rage,

Trees are snapped, houses unroofed, power supply lost.

But in the blink of an eye,

Almost over before it starts.

The sky lightens, as the ghostly horses gallop away,

Disappearing back to their heavenly stables.

Source
Source

Off the Shelf

I strayed away from my "Off the Shelf" series with my last poem, but here I am returning to a form of inspiration that's been working so well for me.

Of the Thunder of Hooves by Ian H Sabey is actually a rewrite of a story called "Mountain Rogue" which the author wrote in the winter of 1943 when he was a prisoner in a concentration camp in Germany during WWII. (I couldn't find the book on Amazon, but it is available at the above link through Biblio.com.au)

Prior to enlisting as a gunner in the A.I.F. Ian Sabey had been an Adelaide journalist. In addition to establishing a British P.O.W. paper, he taught journalism to 35 fellow prisoners.

In the author's words, "the work was done entirely away from ordinary surroundings under almost impossible conditions, and for the smallest circulation in the world - a Digger from Queensland suffering from nephritis, who had lost interest in this world and seemed booked for another."

Of the Thunder of Hooves is the story of an Australian wild horse, or in fact, many horses which have thundered down valleys and across streams, finally to appear on racecourses for what they call "The Sport of Kings."

Ian H Sabey's story is such an interesting one that I could probably have written a whole article about his life, and I may do so at a later date. But hopefully, this snippet gives you some insight.

Of the Thunder of Hooves by Ian H Sabey
Of the Thunder of Hooves by Ian H Sabey | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 John Hansen

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      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        13 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you, Lawrence. Your comment is much appreciated. Glad you enjoyed it.

      • lawrence01 profile image

        Lawrence Hebb 

        13 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

        John

        The images here are so vivid. Really enjoyed this.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        13 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi again, Tim. I am so pleased you enjoyed this work. It means a lot when a writer of your caliber praises one’s humble piece of writing. Much respect for you also.

      • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

        Tim Truzy 

        13 months ago from U.S.A.

        Hi, John,

        Loved this poem. It reminded me of watching the wild herd on Corolla Beach here although not as spectacular as your work.

        This was wonderful and I loved the way you tied in a classic poem, too.

        Enjoyed it immensely.

        Much respect,

        Tim

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        13 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you for reading another of my poems Devika. Take care.

      • DDE profile image

        Devika Primić 

        13 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

        A great imagination you have with this poem. Reminds of when we storms in Croatia. It can get destructive.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        13 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Flourish, I am fortunate to live in a part of the world that gets very few tornados, and those that Australia does get usually occur in the unpopulated areas. I hope you and your family remain safe and little damage is done during the current sequence. Thanks for reading and commenting here.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        13 months ago from USA

        This was a powerful poem and reminded me a lot of the destructiveness of tornadoes. My area has had a large number of them in the past week.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        13 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you for reading this poem, Beth. I am happy that you good feel the atmosphere and found the snippet n Ian H Sabey interesting.

      • bethperry profile image

        Beth Perry 

        13 months ago from Tennesee

        Love this poem; made me feel like I was right there in the middle of the storm, hearing the stallions and feeling the thunder crash around me! And the info about Mr. Sabey very interesting.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you, Rinita :)

      • Senoritaa profile image

        Rinita Sen 

        14 months ago

        Dana, thank you for asking about John's books. I would love to get my hands on them as well. I'll let you know when I do, John.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Dana, thank you again for showing interest in my work. I hope you enjoy whichever book you intend to order.

      • Dana Tate profile image

        Dana Tate 

        14 months ago from LOS ANGELES

        Okay, I'm going to order it and let you know what I think. I agree that you have grown tremendously as a writer/poet. Looking forward to reading your work.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi Dana,

        Thanks for asking. I have an eBook called "I Laughed a Smile" available on Lulu.com

        which is really a collection of my earliest poetry here at HubPages. I think my writing has improved a lot since.

        I published a paperback anthology via The Creative Exiles website I belong to in which I have 13 of my poems along with those of other poets. It has poetry of mine you would not have read before and is available on Amazon. The book is called The Creative Exiles "Let the Words Speak."

      • Dana Tate profile image

        Dana Tate 

        14 months ago from LOS ANGELES

        I remember you wrote a book of poetry. Can I have the website again?

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        I too am enthralled by watching storms develop, Shannon. I have never been in a tornado though and it would surely be different. Thanks for sharing that, and yes I will try free verse more often.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Thanks you for reading and enjoying this Kyokusiima. Your comment is much appreciated.

      • shanmarie profile image

        Shannon Henry 

        14 months ago from Texas

        This reminds me of the time I watched a storm literally roll in from the top of my friend's roof. We knew we needed to get down, but we were awestruck for a few minutes watching the angry clouds tumble over one another. Probably a good thing we snapped out of it, though, because the tornado sirens sounded. LOL

        I suppose the sky is the race track for those wild galloping ghosts. I enjoyed this. You should try free verse more often.

      • kyokusiima diana profile image

        Kyokusiima Diana 

        14 months ago from Kampala-Uganda

        Superb and great. Such a powerful imagination. Thanks for writing.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Yes, it is Shauna...free verse. I usually rhyme but felt like being different. Glad you enjoyed this.

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        14 months ago from Central Florida

        John, this is a different style of poetry for you. Mother Nature is a powerful force. Indeed, sometimes it sounds as if a herd of horses are disturbing the skies to wreak havoc on Earth.

        Nice job!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Paula, thank you so much for those kind words. Ok, I think you have convinced me to research Ian Sabey's life more and write about him. Thanks for the encouragement.

      • fpherj48 profile image

        Paula 

        14 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

        Jodah....You are a Master of Poetry, always exciting, creating inspiration. I hear the thunder as imagery of magnificent horses take my breath away. You have decorated Sabey's "Mountain Rogue," with the blessing of your talent. I encourage you to write of his life and look forward to such a work of art. Peace, Paula

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you for the generous comment, Dana. This was one of my few free-verse poems, I guess I should write them more often.

        As for the elfin children, I have never continued the series further, unfortunately. I was considering making it into a children's book series but was told it was too much like some other author's story so I sort of lost interest. I may be inspired to continue it in future, we shall see. Sorry to disappoint your young cousins.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Mark, glad you could feel the thundering hooves in that coffee shop lol. Thank you for reading and commenting as always.

      • Dana Tate profile image

        Dana Tate 

        14 months ago from LOS ANGELES

        Very creative John, no words could explain how impressed I am with how you weave words together by looking at pictures. A true creative. And, I would say this is definitely one of your best, in my book at least anyway.

        By the way whatever happened to the little elfin kid's? Did they ever venture into the outside world? For the longest time my little cousins were waiting for the continuation but unfortunately, those little boys are a lot older now.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you, Linda. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes it’s much more wonderful to hear or read the words and form your own vision in your mind. Much appreciated.

      • Mark Tulin profile image

        Mark Tulin 

        14 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        John, I felt those thundering hooves even in a laid-back coffee shop in Sana Barbara while several men were blacktopping a parking lot across the way. Powerful poem.

      • Carb Diva profile image

        Linda Lum 

        14 months ago from Washington State, USA

        John, masterfully written. The words were so well chosen no illustrations were needed.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Yes, I guess the publishing of this poem was unintentionally timely, with typhoon Florence on the warpath, Genna. Thank you for the very generous comment.

      • Genna East profile image

        Genna East 

        14 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

        The image of Florence came immediately to mind with the title and opening photo John, and the very first lines of this powerful poem. I just loved this! On the Thunder of Hooves is some of your best work.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you, Londa. I try to find photos to suit as best I can.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        14 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        I love your imagination and the idea of of wild horses in the storm. Your poem matches the photos beautifully, John.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Thanks a lot, Clive. A play, you say?

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi Mike. Thank you for that kind comment. I am going to do more research into Ian H Sabey and possibly write an article about it.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you, Bill, I really appreciate that comment a lot coming from a writer of your calibre.

      • clivewilliams profile image

        Clive Williams 

        14 months ago from Jamaica

        Quite and imaginative piece. Could fit well in a short play.

      • mckbirdbks profile image

        mckbirdbks 

        14 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Hello John - Quite the rousing piece of writing. The backstory pales in comparison. Being a prisoner of war was no picnic.

        The imagery of your poetry was compelling.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Sean glad the imagery created by my words could be seen clearly in your mind glad you enjoyed both the poem and the pictures. Take care brother.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Hey, Eric. The book by Ian Sabey was probably partly inspired by Man From Snowy River poem/story, and it is a wonderful tale. Glad you enjoyed reading this poem.

      • Sean Dragon profile image

        Ioannis Arvanitis 

        14 months ago from Greece, Almyros

        A fantastic and powerful poem which created amazing images in my mind! Thank you, my dear brother!

        Excellent choice of pictures too!

        Admiration!

        Sean

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        Fantastic. Reminded me of the four horsemen and "The Man From Snowy River" One of my top ten movies. Thanks a bunch for this.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Mary, I also love to watch a storm build up as it approaches. As long as it doesn't turn violent and destructive like the one I describe.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Manatita, thank you for that positive and encouraging comment. Yes, Ian H Sabey's story certainly is an interesting one.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you for the wonderful comment, Ann. I guess this poem is quite timely with the hurricane hitting Carolina and another the Philippines.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        14 months ago from Olympia, WA

        Truly a wonderful metaphor, my friend. Loved the storm/stallion comparison. Beautifully written!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Li-Jen, I am glad to hear that comparing thunder to the horses' hooves has made it more exciting. Thank you for sharing the things you liked about the poem as well. I enjoy it when people read my work closely.

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        14 months ago from Ontario, Canada

        Jodah, many times as a child, I have witnessed this. My husband likes to put a chair in the boat house to witness the coming of a storm. Nothing like the one you describe though and nothing like the ones I witnessed as a child when roofs go off and hooves bring destruction to many lives.

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        14 months ago from london

        The story of Ian H Sabey is interesting. I perceived the poem in a different way, as I thought it tied in well with the recent hurricane difficulties, the second half merging so well with the theme so exquisitely developed in the first half. Powerful poem!

      • annart profile image

        Ann Carr 

        14 months ago from SW England

        This is a brilliant poem, John! I love the imagery - of your words and as well as the illustrations. Your word-crafting here is of the highest standard. You describe the build-up, the storm and the aftermath so vividly and the rhythm is perfect. It also reminded me of the images I saw on the television this morning, of the hurricane in North and South Carolina; terrifying and destructive.

        An interesting background to this poem, John. As you say, worth an article in itself.

        Superb!

        Ann

      • Li-Jen Hew profile image

        Li-Jen Hew 

        14 months ago

        Hey Jodah, now that you mentioned the thunder of hooves, thunder is more exciting haha. The rhythm "Thunder claps, lightning strikes, and rain buckets down" mimics the gallops of horses. I like how you added some realities like power outage and show that the horses have to return to their heavenly stables. I like your humour when you said you recall "the Charge of the Light Brigade" and how you divided your poem into the phases of a storm..from how the horses gathered to form bigger dark clouds, the lighting flashes to the end, the sky lightens. Thanks for sharing. :)

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        14 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi Rinita, thank you for being the first to read this, and also for your generous comment. I knew I had seen images like this before but it was a matter of finding the right ones, yes. I'm glad was able to capture a feeling of exhilaration and fear.

      • Senoritaa profile image

        Rinita Sen 

        14 months ago

        This is surreal imagery, John. I think it might have been hard to find the right pictures, too. The shape of the clouds transforming to horses was exhilarating and frightening at the same time. Loved this. You, are the master!

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