Tag Archives: horses

ODE TO GOOD HORSES

 

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Helping Earl meant bring your best
horse to stay ahead of trouble,
especially in Sulphur, a mount

that could cross the brushy draws
and stand up in scree, I’d imagine
the night before my young dreams—

a bay gelding who could read
the minds of renegades at 200 yards,
or the boot-tough brown mare

from Rudnick’s broncs before him.
They spent their lives making me
more helpful than I was, in or out

of the corrals. It was always Western
and I’d wake to saddle in the dark,
to be on time for wild adventure, enough

for all spread across the watershed—
simultaneous, far-flung accounts
polished in the shade for future poetry.

 

EMPTY PEN

 

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A hundred and ten degrees
in an empty pen
where we watched him
stumble to his feet,

where we forget
twenty years of trying—
that a man was king
with all he needed

to get the job done.
Time swallows memory
like a snake
chokes a meal down

to the present tense—
outliving horses
before we fade
from this landscape.

We can ask too much,
plead for compassion
from invisible gods,
compensation for

the heroic hearts
we have held
within our fingers,
within our family.

                                        for Red Hot Montana

 

What are friends for?

 

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WOOLY CANYON DAWN

 
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Blankets and leather
rest ready for the gather,
cowdogs in the shade.