Tag Archives: Tom Grimmius



(click to enlarge)


Privilege and luck
to know and work with fine men
while getting older.

A part of them sticks
to the sides of gaping holes
they have left us with

to load semi-trucks
with ripened grass on the hoof—
cowmen to count on.



Returning home yesterday after a moving celebration of the life of Earl McKee, Robbin went through some her photos trying to determine the age of our old dog, only to run across her photo of Tom Grimmius and Art Tarbell on Dry Creek, two more from the old school that are no longer with us to help get the job done. Reminding me of H.C. “Bud” Jackson’s “The Good ‘Uns” about Cleo Denny and other local and progressive cattlemen, published in 1980.



                                        And now these men seem more to me
                                        Like harmless old bees
                                        Gathering the sweetness of the last, thin light
                                        On the only side of the river they know.

                                                 – James Galvin (“Old Men on the Courthouse Lawn,
                                                       Murray, Kentucky”)

Two or three hundred men, women and fidgety children
inside the steamy sale barn, the staccato drone of the auctioneer
amplified to deafness, snare drum in my ears as the pampered,

sleek bulls pass and pirouette before the crowd, orchestrated
by a wary ring man, we take turns stepping out the open doors
to raise an eyebrow, smoke and watch, this old man and I.

A familiar face for years here, I don’t know his name,
neither taking time to introduce ourselves, he knows cattle.
We always say hello, exchange quick clevernesses

and when the last bull sells and the building empties,
we sit on the edge of the concrete pews, smoke and wait
to see which lucky buyer wins the annual saddle.

Today we are closer. He tells me how he loves
a cow sale, hauling cattle from Shasta, Cottonwood
or Famosa since he was eighteen. We both inhale.

He tells me he’s sixty-eight and how many two-by-tens
they’ve replaced in the front row notched by Tom Grimmius,
buying cattle, as we await our moment of silence.

                                                                                for Tom