JOHN CUTLER’S COWBOYS

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In response to a request for my contributions to “Reflections of the West” I’ve posted “John Cutler’s Cowboys” that is also included in “Poems from Dry Creek.”

                    We at last struck a trail that has recently been cut
                    for the purpose of bringing in cattle. It is at an altitude
                    of 7,800 feet. Here is a succession of grassy meadows –
                    one called Big Meadow is several miles in extent.

                                        – William H. Brewer, 18 June 1864

I know the place
my grandfather’s grandfather found
to escape the drought, heard the voices

of his vaqueros when I got turned around
in the tight pines near Ellis Meadow – easy
to lose yourself and time altogether – feel

them close to the black rings of stone.
Up from Eshom where the Yokuts held
their last Ghost Dance that upset the settlers

in Visalia and over Redwood Saddle
to graze Rowell and Sugarloaf bunchgrass.
After nearly a hundred summers,

the cows knew the way.
It’s much the same once off the trail:
pine needle carpets and granite cut

by snowmelt creeks and green stringer
meadows, wind and river talking loud
enough to hear damn-near anything.

                                        ~

“Cloud Waves”

“Waiting for Daylight”

 

3 responses to “JOHN CUTLER’S COWBOYS

  1. When I read your poetry, John, it takes me to the west, and that always makes me happy.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sitting in my office close to town but your poems take me back to where I was brought up – not in the mountains near the Sierras but in the bush with the sheep and the cattle and my horse. Thank you, John.

    Liked by 1 person

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