Ballad of Bucephalus and Alexander
It was a bright sunny morning when you found one another.
You were twelve years old, the pride of your father; he was just
A young stallion afraid of all that moved in his world.
There were many in the herd, but you picked him out immediately.
Perhaps it was the brilliance of his black coat, or perhaps,
That his head was shaped like that of an ox. It mattered not
To you that the others made fun of him. You knew he was
Destined for the same greatness as yourself.
You watched the stallion and your father noted your interest.
He beckoned to another to catch the unruly sprite and
Show off his paces. Rider after rider was thrown to the
Ground and it was you, a twelve-year old boy, who realized
That the stallion was only afraid of his shadow.
Without a word you moved forward to grab the young horse.
Your father watched intently as the others around laughed
At your boldness. The horse snorted, blowing warm air across
Your face. You took the reins gently and turned him into
The sun. In the blink of an eye you swung upon his back.
And so began the bond that no other could break.
Your father laughed aloud, so proud of his son! “Son, find
Another Kingdom because Macedonia is too small for you!”
When asked what he was to be named you shouted out, “Bucephalus!”
Your father shook his head with a smile, knowing something
Special had happened that day.
Though others could care for him, only you could ride.
Soon your adventures took you to far away lands. Among
Them your trip to Gordium where you cut the Gordian Knot
As Bucephalus stood quietly by your side.
There were the battles of Granicus and Issus, Chaeronea and
Gaugamela. In all, Bucephalus carried you swiftly through
The hordes. There was no man, no cavalry horse that could
Match your grace and speed. And when you rode, you were one.
Bucephalus fought as bravely as you.
At Jhelum, Bucephalus did not bolt when the trumpeting
Elephants stormed forward. He held his ground and did his
Best to keep you protected. As a soldier lashed out, he
Maneuvered himself in between you and Death itself. But it
Was Bucephalus who received death’s blow. In the frenzy
Of the battle, Bucephalus carried on. It was not until
You reached camp that you saw the damage that had been done.
Bucephalus gave a brave front, but there was nothing your
Doctors could do. He went to his knees and you cradled
His head. And as it had begun thirty years ago it ended,
With a warm breath across your face.
You had become Alexander the Great because of the love and
Trust of an ox-headed horse. You gave Bucephalus a funeral
Worthy of the most important member of State. In leading
The procession you declared that a city would be named to
Honor the greatest of all horses.
And in your dreams, for many years later, you would ride
Across green valleys on the back of Bucephalus who as
He had in life, so he did in death…never left your side.
Dedicated to the memory of Bucephalus, the greatest of all warhorses.