Commentary and Philosophy Poetry posted November 5, 2017


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Tuesday is Melbourne Cup day

The Sport of Kings

by CD Richards

 
 
Let's go down to the track, find a nag we can back;
just maybe we'll make us a killing.
Come sun or come rain we'll be sipping champagne,
for Cup day's not a day for beer swilling.

Check out the wildcats in their cute fancy hats
(I believe the term is "fascinator") —
time to laugh at their jokes and to light up their smokes;
there's a chance we might get lucky later.

It's the thrill our sport brings, makes us all feel like kings,
for it fills up our hearts with elation.
Hear the thunder of hooves and our mood soon improves
on the day when a race stops the nation.

Galloping at a blur, urged by whip and by spur
we can see the joy writ on the faces
of these equine cash-cows, surely good sense allows
our amusement's the reason each races.

As the race nears an end, I remark to my friend,
"Well it seems like his lead has eroded!"
He is now at the back, but the horse is not slack—
it appears that his heart has exploded.

With distress on his face, still he limps out the race,
but his suffering clearly is major;
and as he lies dying, no doubt some are crying
while lamenting the loss of their wager.

On this day I have vowed not to join with the crowd—
I'll not give my support to horse racing.
It's time suffering ends for our four-legged friends;
at the post, it's our conscience we're facing.

There's no way we can know that these stars of the show
(even if they appear to be willing)
think that servitude's fun; let their last race be run—
there's no need to be making a killing.

 


Poem of the Month contest entry


At 3pm on Tuesday November 7, 2017, virtually every workplace in this country will suspend business and every home television will be tuned in to watch the running of the Melbourne Cup - the world's second richest horse race. Office sweepstakes are virtually mandatory.

There is a dark side to all the revelry of which not everyone is aware. Somewhere around 130 horses die every year on racetracks in Australia alone. Thousands more horses bred for racing who don't make the grade are shot for dog food.

In 2015, two horses died after the running of the Melbourne Cup. Admire Rakti, an overseas horse, and race favourite, had a massive heart attack during the race, and died immediately after in agony in his stall. This poem tells that story.

Another horse, Araldo,was spooked by someone in the crowd waving a banner, and kicked a fence, breaking a leg. Araldo was destroyed later that night.

Sometimes you hear the term "collateral damage" or "wastage" applied to animals that lose their lives as a result of being conscripted for our amusement - I think they deserve to be valued more than that.

Photo: From pixabay.com, CC0 - no attribution required.
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© Copyright 2018. CD Richards All rights reserved.
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