Remember me when I ran with my kind,
my hooves struck the prairie like a xylophone,
kicking up bees in the cowboy rose,
grazing the weave of sweetgrass stems,
red dirt-dancing in the south wind's eye.
Then you brought your infinite calves,
wave after wave of threadbare sheep,
mines and guns and the oil machine
to steal the grass, to suck up the land,
to push and kill til the red stones weep.
Now that you've turned the bees to wind
now that you've turned the grass to sand
now that you've turned a dancer to meat
now that I've gone
where the dead can't ask,
only horse-ghosts run while the sweetgrass longs
for the wild tap of hooves, the mustang's song.
for earthwheel challenge
Notes:You may wonder how this is related to climate change, but almost everything impacting animals negatively today is so related in one way or another. In this case, the climate of the West and Southwest plains has been growing rapidly more arid for several decades, increasing the stress put on the land to sustain the wild horse herds, native species like elk and deer, and cattle and sheep ranching populations. The public land areas are also feeling the push for oil and gas development, as well as unregulated trophy hunting. The ones to lose in this scenario are the wild horses.
More info: The American Mustang is a feral horse that is descended from domesticated horses brought to the Americas by the Spanish in the 15th century, and is protected under the Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. Populations are "managed" by the Bureau of Land Management who use a series of yearly round-ups and contraceptive measures plus an adoption program to keep mustang numbers down. While control of these populations is necessary to prevent over-grazing and over-population, the BLM's practices have been criticized time and again for cruelty, corruption and incompetence, while civilian animal welfare groups have relentlessly pushed to reform and control them, with mixed success. The BLM has been accused of turning a blind eye to mass "adoptions" where the horses are slaughtered for dog food, as well as for keeping large herds of animals penned up indefinitely without any plan for their fate other than eventual slaughter.
Most recently under the Trump administration, things have swung round to the worse scenario level, as might be expected in a 'pay to play' government:
"The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) winter roundup season is upon us. The traumatic helicopter roundups that will be conducted this season are even more concerning than usual, since every single wild horse captured is in danger of being killed or sold for slaughter.
Signaling its intent for America's wild herds, the BLM is planning to conduct numerous roundups simultaneously. The agency's increased capacity for rounding up horses endangers more lives and proves problematic for advocacy organizations that intend to document the mass capture of mustangs from their homes on our public lands." ~American Wild Horse Campaign
"The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is putting together the fiscal year 2020 roundup schedule. Once funding is approved by Congress in the fiscal 2020 debate...we may see the schedule explode to include up to 20K wild horses removed each year for the next 3-4 years. These will be the largest roundup schedules in history.This will decimate existing populations. It is based on the severely flawed parameters of politics in the 1970’s and perpetuated through a program based on excuses and chaos ever since." ~Wild Horse Education
Photos: header © Bev Pettit, footer © Carol Walker Fair Use