The wooden horses
are tired of their courses

and plead from head to hoof
to be fed to a stove—

In leaping lunging flames
they’d rise again, flared manes

snapping like chains behind them.
The smoke would not blind them

as do these children’s hands:
beyond our cruel commands

the fire will free them then
as once the artisan when

out of the tree they
were nagged to this neigh.

Bill Knott, “Merry-No-Round” from Poetry 183 (March 2004): 330, 332. Copyright © 2004 by . Reprinted with the permission of .
Source: Poetry (2004)
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