Tag Archives: Horses

CHILDREN HAVE

CHILDREN HAVE

Children have a great sense of smell

Maybe that’s why
their diapers make them cry

their first
breast sends them
on a lifelong quest
and a cinnamon bun
can stop us all in the mall

On a farm there’s hay
before it goes into the cow
and hay when it comes out

The pungency of pig, the foul of fowl

Rain before the first drop falls
and the whip of lightning after it cracks

Smoke on dad’s clothes from the prairie fire
snuff from the round box cutting his shirt

The dog, even wet, not diminished in love

If lost in a blizzard, or in the dark
it is always best to let go of the reins
so the horse’s nose can point you home

Lost in the world at four a.m.
twice blessed if yours can do the same

TABBY LA ROSA

TABBY LA ROSA

Horses are cats
they just want to be
petted and loved

Although
when you neglect to do so
they are much more likely
to send you flying
than piss on your best Persian rug

That sort of thing is reserved for cats
and cats are not horses
and deeply resent
being ridden

as every toddling two year old
in history (unable to read history)
will have to have etched
on the blank slates of their skin

HAWAII FIVE OH

HAWAII FIVE OH

It was so damn beautiful
It could have been an
ad for anything

A young man and a beautiful
young woman, hair streaming
over soft well-tanned neck
gallop along a deserted
white-sand Oahu beach

They wouldn’t include
in the thirty second ad
how very hard the cowboy
from Canada is trying to
impress the Island maid

How many thousands of acres
How many broncs he has rode

How she had given him
the eighteen hand Hunter to ride
and how they had left the silly
English saddles behind

How good he feels about himself
as the sand kicks up from hooves
how pride goeth before a….
rogue wave crashing at their feet

And the big horse spooking
and the cowboy’s instincts doing
everything right, if he had been
neck-reining a quarter horse

and everything wrong on this one

Who goes left while he goes right
right out from under

With nothing but gravity
between him and
where his butt meets
the wet hard sand

The visible bruise
lasts a week or two

The therapy is taking
a little longer

DANCES WITH HORSES

DANCES WITH HORSES

And what is the poem of Rusty
who slips at full gallop and picks up all
four feet and sets them down sure on the next
dry spot

Of Lady still so afraid of wire she can buck
fourteen hours tired
if a four inch chunk should strike a hoof

And the dance of the wild mare in the corral
who kicks and one foot goes by on each side of
your head

And of the colt separated from mother’s flank
by a gunny sack in the face and a quick gate,
who turns a tight arc and comes back at you, and
you see it in the eyes and duck and he sails over
taking out the top rail

And you hear that your father gave you the first
compliment you’ve
ever heard of by turning to the man beside him
and saying

“The damned fool will get himself killed someday”

GOOD OLD BOYS

GOOD OLD BOYS

For years you’ve been leaning up your act
But now the good old boys are coming back

And the guy they’re coming back to see
Is the good old boy that you used to be

You broke some broncs and drank some
beers
And played tough football in those
years

Cruised to front and back seat double
features
And took big guns to kill small timid
creatures

Since then you’ve passed through many a
door
But can’t say to them. I’m not that person
anymore

Of course they may have changed too

But how oh how could they tell … You

TOO CROWDED

TOO CROWDED

My folks took some time off in the sixties
from their Saskatchewan ranching and
traveled down through South Texas

One day they stopped to talk to an
old cowboy sittin and a wittlin
on a rickety ranch porch

When he found out where they were from he said
“say do you know a man up there
by the name of Bill Prior?”

They said “Yes, he’s an old bachelor who lives up
past our North pasture, why do you ask?”

“Well” he said, “About 1928 Bill and I were out lookin
for some strays when we say another rider
coming over the furthest hill.”

Bill said to me, “It’s getting too damn crowded down here,
I’m heading for Canada.”

“He turned his horse North and I haven’t
seen him since.”

I NEVER SAW MY MOTHER ON HORSEBACK

I NEVER SAW MY MOTHER ON HORSEBACK

I understand that
she used to ride to school
but she was little and it was a farm
and somehow that didn’t seem to count

When she was about 75 she told me
about going with dad to the far end of the ranch
on a beautiful day a long time ago
to help round up some strays

She said that she liked it a lot
and couldn’t remember why she didn’t do it more

PRAIRIE EAR

PRAIRIE EAR

Outer ear gathering
sounds of birds and wind
and hooves on spring grasses

Playing them soft on the drum
as hammer and anvil and stirrup
pass on the faint creaking leather
of my old Texas boot in the stirrup

Ripples wave down inner membranes
and tiny thousands of hair cells
move like grass in the valley

From pressure to impulse
and from sound to
symbol of
sound

All floating in the liquid balance of an easy lope