Edit Module
Edit Module

Jun 12, 201309:53 AMThe Telegraph

The Premier Blog of the West

Poem Of The Week: June 12, 2013

Jun 12, 2013 - 09:53 AM
Poem Of The Week: June 12, 2013

 

The Old Cowboy

 

I’m not sure when you first sauntered into my heart. Perhaps

while I memorized lyrics to the ballad of Pecos Bill playing

on Grandma’s wind-up phonograph, straddled a log over

a waterfall, reading Zane Grey, sniffled farewells in darkened

living rooms and movie houses at flickering images of Hopalong,

Tom Mix, Alan Ladd, Gene Autry, Sky King and Roy.

In my mind, you were 6 feet tall, lean, lanky, circumspect in speech,

and wherever you walked, the smell of roasted chicory

 

Wafted from an enameled blue pot, stars shone with a clarity

and brightness captured only in glossy magazines, eagles soared

majestically, coyotes howled in the distance, horses looked

somehow prouder,  cattle more dignified, pastures more verdant,

horizons more expansive, and clouds, well -- more welcoming

to wool gatherers on sultry, summer afternoons.

Two nights ago, when I dreamt you were dying, I held my son

in my arms and consoled him.  He felt your passing, as well.

 

This morning, I know you are leaving me.  A chill of certitude

grips the air and a shadow falls on the foothills.  The harshness

of our world is anathema to you who could no sooner wrap your mind

around an unkindness than rustle another rancher’s livestock.

You stand for something idyllic, true, a bygone era, a mystique

of innate goodness, an unquantifiable rightness.  I refuse to make

my so-long permanent.  With your bandanna around my neck,

creased Stetson on my head,  and denim shirt enveloping me,

 

I will lasso only the purposeful and noble, sidestep malice.

Astride my palomino, I take it all in -- zigzagging tumbleweed,

a spectacular sunset heralding Technicolor glory.  On cue,

daybreak is full of bluebonnets and promise.  You're Hopalong.

You’re Tom. You’re Shane. You’re Gene. You’re Sky. You’re

Roy. You’re  a little girl's comforter and incorruptible hero. You’re

in my very breath. You’re in my bones radiating warmth. You’re

my compass, my North Star. You’re glowing. You’re glowing always.

 

Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed
 

comments powered by Disqus

Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Latest Blog Post

Blog

The Premier Blog of the West
Western Wire: The Kept, The Other Trail Of Tears, And Cowboy Crock Pot Cooking

Western Wire: The Kept, The Other Trail Of Tears, And Cowboy Crock Pot Cooking

We round up the latest in books, DVDs, and CDs about and from across the American West.

Comments

Food

Recipe: The Corner Office’s Just Another Goat Rodeo Cocktail

Recipe: The Corner Office’s Just Another Goat Rodeo Cocktail

This cocktail is available through the duration of the National Western Stock Show — or whenever you'd like it at home.

Comments

Music

Western Wire: The Kept, The Other Trail Of Tears, And Cowboy Crock Pot Cooking

Western Wire: The Kept, The Other Trail Of Tears, And Cowboy Crock Pot Cooking

We round up the latest in books, DVDs, and CDs about and from across the American West.

Comments

TV & Film

Weekend Western: 'Ride In The Whirlwind'

Weekend Western: 'Ride In The Whirlwind'

Cameron Mitchell and Jack Nicholson star in Monte Hellman's 1965 western

Comments

Fashion

Open Range: Timeless Trophy

Open Range: Timeless Trophy

With inspiration from local Native American artisans, this craftsman unites styles from the Old World and his Southwestern heritage.

Comments

Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module
Advertisement