Monday, January 26, 2009

Welcome to Elko...

I'm at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, for the rest of the week. Last night, John Dofflemeyer read a few poems. These cowboys love their hats and neckerchiefs, their way of life, the American West, and anything having to do with the open range.

Oh, and they love their horses too. Here's John Dofflemeyer's poem about his old bay horse:


At 28 he sleeps standing, head heavy
in September sun, inches from
its shadow. He cannot hear me

for the sounds in his dreams:
the sudden crack of manzanita
or the chorus of bawling calves -

and men. I see the faces gone,
shake hands again and ride within
the old horizons on the edges

of our eyes - and grins. We were
the band that ran these hills
with cows. We were the hands

and proud to hold the wild within
these dark shadows, come alive
as he shrinks into the ground.

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