Once We Were Kings
C&I's Poem of the Week for 4/6/2011
It’s a half day’s ride to this cabin door
Where I spent my eighteenth year.
There are spur marks there on the old wood floor,
But the crew’s no longer here.
So it’s silent now, where a noisy gang
Gathered round to lie and spar
Or to ponder life while some waddy sang
To his battered old guitar.
All the bunk bed slats have been long since burned
In that hungry cast iron stove.
In the corner there lies a chair, upturned,
With the leather seat I wove.
There an old grass rope and a horsehair rein
Hang forgotten on the wall.
That old Frazier rig won't be rode again.
Whose it was, I can’t recall.
Through the flyspecked, broken out window there
Stands an empty pine pole pen.
All our broncs are gone, but I don’t know where.
But what’s worse, I don’t know when.
And the boys who rode for their meager wage,
Which was thrown away each week,
Were a part of a wild and woolly age
Which gave way to mild and meek.
I can see them there, ‘round the coosie's fire
When the herd was bedded down.
We would swear our oaths we would not retire
To a lesser life in town.
We would toast our lives with a strong black brew
While we dined on beef and beans.
We looked down on the suit and necktie crew
Who don’t know what living means.
For we ruled the world from our leather thrones,
Cinched atop a half-broke mount.
And we spent our youth as if kings, not drones.
We were rich in things that count.
When we tally dreams that can still come true
We will find our herds are short.
But we won’t regret what we didn’t do
When we stand that final sort.
For a few short years we were pleased to live
As the luckiest of men.
We enjoyed the best that this life can give
Because we were cowboys then.
C&I's Poem of the Week for April 6, 2011. To submit your poems for consideration, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with "poetry" in the subject line. Selected entries will appear online.