The Forgotten

Two pack mules. © IWM (Q 34066)
piphoc Fri, 25/04/2014 - 17:12

I can’t remember not being here,
Not being afraid, cold,
Not having sores from my heavy pack.
I can’t remember what it’s like to eat mouthfuls of grass
And drink as much water as I can drink.

I wish I were that bird, flying high,
Soaring above the danger,
Taking a message,
Of safety? Of peace?
But still for them the danger comes.

I wish I were that hound, small enough to hide,
Small enough to find a shield from the bombs,
To take cover behind my master,
But still for them the danger comes.

I could get angry, I could complain,
That it’s not fair, that this is not our fight,
But as we walk side by side, I see your trust in me and I put my trust in you.
I will walk willingly into the line of fire for you, and as I look into your deep, scared, sad eyes I know I won’t be walking alone.
Still for us the danger comes.

And still the relentless bombs cry,
I must be brave and get our cargo through,
Through the continuous ear splitting crashes,
The bursts of light hurt my eyes.
I am afraid but I must go on.
I must be steady. I have seen my kind swallowed by the land when straying from the route.
And always the danger comes.

Yet there will be no commemorative gesture,
No field of poppies for us to be remembered,
They will not stand at our graves and weep,
But we will always know how we walked together as one,
Mankind and mule, an inseparable bond.

And together we march on as equals,
We risk our lives for what?
For lush green pastures,
For lying in the midday sun, feeling the heat on our backs,
For that quiet touch of the hand that cares for me.
For Life!
Viva Las Mulas!

By Pippa Hockin

Since I started working for The Donkey Sanctuary last year at Town Barton Farm (where most of The Donkey Sanctuary mules are) I have been alerted to how much mules did during the War by a couple of fabulous colleagues. This has been so well depicted on your website. As I looked further into it I noticed that there isn't very much information on mules in the War available and I wanted to do something for these fabulous animals which do and have done so much for us.

Recently I have been working with a mule called Louisiana who was very nervous at first but as we have created a bond her confidence has grown so much and I can see how much trust a mule will have in us if we let them. I see this everyday when my colleagues are doing the amazing behaviour work with the different mules on the farm. After a really good day's training with a colleague and some quiet reflection time with Louisiana I felt I could write for her, if she were to talk of World War 1, being unable to make the decision to go to war but soldiering on none the less, through such horrors we could never imagine.

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Jenny L. Bates's picture

This morning the Mule said, "All I ever needed was for you to listen."

And did anyone?

Jenny L. Bates's picture

"My voice goes after what my eyes cannot reach." - Walt Whitman said that. We cannot reach the past to change the horrors of war. But we can still be the voice of the animals that suffered.

Be the Voice, not the violence.

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