Trudy Johnson Photography
Robert Frost never built a fence
between a neighbor as fine as mine,
who shared more than his cow sense
on both sides of the line.
He helped a shaggy-headed kid
whose ignorance could fill a book
and kept his impatience mostly hid
‘less I took a second look—
and then he knew, I knew the pain
and like a son, he worked with me
and tell a joke to keep me sane,
so frustrated I couldn’t see.
In time, I’d be working the gate,
he damn-sure had me looking sharp,
working ’round my each mistake—
the cattle easy to part.
Whenever I call, he’ll be there,
saving most of his work for last.
He helped me ship ’em on Easter,
a drought year gone past.
A slick calf could cause discussion,
he’d always argue it was mine.
I debate for his possession,
losing most of the time.
And when he’d weigh out justice,
you’d find his thumb upon the scale,
but on your side of the balance,
your logic to no avail.
So before you go building fences
and stretching brand-new barbed wire,
there’s one gone beyond common senses
and made Bobby Frost a liar.
If you ever find a pattern cut
that’d be suitable for me,
reckon you’d be hard-pressed put
using other than Earl Mckee.
– John Dofflemyer (Dry Creek Rhymes, 1989)
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