Your shaggy, winsome countenance belies
A strength borne out of harsh austerity
Unparalleled, comparative to size,
A product of your insularity.
Your humble, compact form inspires delight,
Small children are entrusted to your back–
Beloved pets, devoted guides, despite
Strong will, which manifests in training’s lack.
And yet I cannot look into your faces
Without recalling how your forebears bore
The the pit and lash in suffocating places,
And how your brethren perished by the score.
Past sorrows make our present selves inclined
To err, I hope, upon the side of kind.
For JL Aldis, who requested a sonnet about Shetland ponies.