The Hippopotamus

The hippopotamus, the ‘river-horse’.
Not like our English horses: docile, tame,
With their sugarlumps and carrots, while their force
Is harnessed for our service or our games.
But to the Greeks a ίππος* was no pet.
To all who in its way would dare to stand
It was wild and dangerous, a threat.
The ίππος. War horse. Conqueror of lands.
Then there’s the ποταμος*, the river. Wide
With vast, unbridled power when in flood,
Its shadow harsh and desolate when dried.
In wax or wane with power of life and blood.
Untameable. Unyielding. Dangerous.
The ‘river-horse’, the hippopotamus.

(c) Rich Clarkson 2015

ίππος = ‘hippos’
ποταμος = ‘potamos’


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