A Mule’s Duty

Bandaging the leg of a wounded mule. © IWM (Q 10907)
Jenny L. Bates Fri, 14/03/2014 - 21:41

Shake off the mud
Shake off the cries
Shake off the pain
Shake off the night.
They’ve framed my face
in a heavy mask,
I cannot breathe
I can only gasp
for air filled with smoke
and cold and fear
My nose is running
with Mulish tears.
Through service and struggle
I’ll climb this hill
with cannon and mortar
to hurl at the enemy
To live or die out my destiny.

The shrills are scattered
among my kind
How many Mules whose hour has come
Lay in a puddle,
poor dust our song.
I and my friends are all in the way
of death and spirit on this fateful day
If we had our wish we’d say,
let’s run and sing, let’s not engage
in war and rain until we’re able
To just be fodder for a Raven’s table.

Human and non-human have forgot to pray
Cut off from food
Put out of the way
We cannot move, our souls are clay
No generations to tell my tale today.
Oh heavy burden, stay on your toes!
Through wars of men
the Mules must lift their feet or fall as
We become our own foes.
So dress me now with heavy cannon and all
with cloaks of death I’m on my way,
Hail my courage with your monuments and flowers
to us animals who walked the line
of all that matters.
Hail the unseen links between us
crave a peaceful better day
Set sail the fragrance of the field
And remember there is nothing
more agreeable than what I’m doing
beneath this war torn veil.

To me, war is the supreme stage of the heart. The animals that are engaged in the wars of men are so completely in their power. No choice but to plod on through. They walk the whole walk of war. They have never heard of such a thing, would not conceive of it in their lives and yet, they stand beside man in all his endeavours even unto death. For words they would never use. So it was and is for the animals of war.

As Aristotle said, "For nature, when no other important purpose stands in her way, places the more honorable part in the more honorable position...the centre." The centre is the heart, and the animals of war all carry the bravest and heaviest of these.

In my talks and slide shows I used to give, I spoke in length of the donkeys and mules used in war, but only the 'heros'' never the cost. In my research I saw and read about the inconceivable numbers who lost their lives in service to man and I am a supporter of Animal Aid.

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Not only am I charmed by the author's eloquence and sensitivities, but also made aware of the significance of love, assistance, and sacrifice portrayed by beings whose efforts are often overlooked or even discounted.

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