. The mystic steed gave chase to red-eyed day, His forelock flying in the morn’s raw gust. Providence, my constant mount with whom I, On hills and shores, through lofty steeps and crags Had foolhardily stole, forgetting Fate In the undead days of my storm-tossed youth, Now strode o’er new plains, and charged unthwarted, The thick fibers of his flesh pulsing with Unshackled might, his lead hooves drifting like A swan at once both swift and graceful o’er The sunlit plain, his knees and hocks swinging On their sinewy hinges as his full And fibrous breast impelled us on toward The sweeping glory of another noon. But as we strode, the once red eyes of that Once serene day now swelled with white ill will And every shaft of light from heaven seared. Our pores let out our bodies’ tears and with Our mouths we gasped, our lips dry, our tongues spent. But on we swept beneath the Sun---until A wood appeared beyond the hill at hand. A wood that whispered in the winds, whose trees Were draped with lace-like webs, whose ground bemoaned The tread of any worthy man, whose buds And leafy clumps dripped with sappy nectar Running from the vice-vined trunks, whose very Air was heavy with the steaming murk of sin. Yes, there was Evil, but there was cool shade And only there was shade from the Sun’s shafts. I halted Providence as we approached The wood of Evil, tugging his damp locks. Evil’s better battled in shade than sun, I thought, and prodded Providence toward The leaf-fleeced grove. But he protested, and I struck his head. Should he, my mount, tell me Where I cannot go? Should the commanded Command? Would the saddled guide his rider? We entered shade, which, like a blackbird’s wing, Spread over us with a silent coolness. But silence and coolness attend the dark; The speckled shade gave way to depthless black. We staggered in the weighty fog, our trot Devolving to a halt, and then we sank And Providence’s hooves were soon involved In wet mire. I took his mane and tried to Urge his weakened figure from the miry Patch of forest ground, with no great luck; Good Fortune, I supposed, had left us to Ourselves (that or the cruel and childish whims Of Fate had finally cut across my path). So we stood, sunken, blind, tormented by Abiding Evil. And whereas before Our bodies hunched beneath the heat, we now Were cold, writhing, and our bodies shivered. To flee from sun to shade, from trials to ease, Was not from warmth to coolness, but from Light To Dark, from Good to Evil, from the wide Expanse of Purity to Sin’s awning. So I released my steed’s willowy mane, And freed him from my weakened, selfish grasp, And Providence, Leviathan-like, rose In mighty triumph from the mire, free. Again his limbs were filled with strength, again We charged unthwarted, and again the Sun Appeared, beyond the woody veil, and I, With joy before unknown to me, burst out In a song of doxology, for now I knew that Providence directed me, And did not need my guidance any more Than I would want the guidance of the blind. My mount stood still to twitch his gleaming crest And from his mane he shook the dewy spheres, Then trod again across the open plain Of life with me, our mystic bodies one In purpose, hastening until the end. . . Stephen Ramsek is a 12th grade student at God’s Grace Academy, in Kentucky.