New Forest Ponies

By William Henry Ogilvie

You are free of the woodland meadows, 
Of swamp and thicket and ride; 
All day in the slanting shadows 
You lurk and loiter and hide, 
Till the moonlight silvers the bracken 
And the stars on the copses dance, 
And the fires of the sunlight slacken 
As the night comes up from France! 

The night that by tower and steeple 
Comes up like a witch in the sky, 
Calling loud to the Little People 
To mount while the moon is high; 
Setting legions of light feet twinkling 
Through the dewy marshland grass, 
And the bells on the heath-flower tinkling 
As the fairy horsemen pass! 

In the light of the stars they gather 
Between the mirk and the morn, 
With kirtle and cap and feather 
And hunting-knife and horn; 
Then come from the deep glades swinging 
Their ropes of the twisted dew, 
Like gay little cowboys flinging 
Their lariat loops on you! 

You are free of the woodland meadows, 
You are free of thicket and ride; 
All day in the slanting shadows 
You lurk and loiter and hide; 
All day unbitted and idle 
You wheel and whinny and prance. 
But you bend to an elfin bridle 
When the night comes up from France! 

First published in 1910.

You can read more about William Henry Oglivie here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Henry_Ogilvie

Reproduced with permission

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