Do They Know?

Do they know? At the turn to the straight
Where the favourites fail,
And every last atom of weight
Is telling its tale;
As some grim old stayer hard-pressed
Runs true to his breed,
And with head in front of the rest
Fights on in the lead;
When the jockeys are out with the whips,
With a furlong to go,
And the backers grow white in the lips --
Do you think they don't know?
Do they know? As they come back to weigh
In a whirlwind of cheers,
Though the spurs have left marks of the fray,
Though the sweat on the ears
Gathers cold, and they sob with distress
As they roll up the track,
They know just as well their success
As the man on their back.
As they walk through a dense human lane
That sways to and fro,
And cheers them again and again,
Do you think they don't know?

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"Do They Know?" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 11 Dec. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/2515/do-they-know?>.

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