Broke to Ride bout rimes

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Storm clouds rolling over the cattle drive.

Off of drag, I’m pushing bush on the side,

gotta get em gathered an’ bedded ‘afore night.

He said he’d save supper, but Cookie lied.

It’s a  life, but no living on this cowboy wage.

Preacher comes ’round askin who’s saved.

I’m fixing that Mexican bridle Sam made.

Crow warrior, blood red hand print on his face

going home slow, spirits wounds to nurse.

Singing songs of heaven and home in church

it makes this longing to see my family worse.

Buck sips his whiskey, squints and purse

his lips together, spat some tobacco juice back

an said, “We come to far boys, to go back to that!”

 

Tony at dVerse has us playing with a word list for bout rime poetry. I had to head back to my cowboy poetry and cowboy roots to share a bit of a night rider and campfire lament. Enjoy, or even better dally up and rope yerself some courage and try your hand at this fun form!

Remain calm

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Remain calm. The best advice.

Life is fragile. Handle with prayer.

Dancing on the edge of panic.

And a stillness holds me back.

Be still. Be still. Breathe. In. Out.

Running in place doesn’t make miles.

It’s a fast getaway on a rocking horse.

Feed goes in poop comes out.

Life is what goes in during the between.

Mind, body, spirit. Praying. Hoping.

Knowing what has to be done,

just not knowing how to the when.

Wishing I could sleep in the sun

with the cats and the dogs instead.

Hunting down elusive things and

doing work. Wondering at the

view ahead. Snowy roads.

Rainy days. Stormy maybe.

One step. Just one. Left or right?

God doesn’t count the steps

forward or back, He sees the heart.

He counts the tears. Not the fears.

He counts the scars that tell

we survived another bout.

He steps in His own time.

We walk, humbly at best,

and often kicking, screaming

being dragged by our stubborn

hands, heels dug in holding on.

I want place of ‘okay’ because

I know it. I don’t want the risk.

The unknown can be amazing.

But it is unknown and therefore

we are taught to fear it. Only the

reckless or crazy seek it wildly.

We leave limbo behind, boldly.

Dancing down an ice covered

highway, left or right turn?

Go. Just go. Get going.

Remain calm. Be still.

God’s got this. Breathe.

Live. Love. Laugh.

Pray. Pray first. Pray.

Prayer is

 

He spat a tobacco plug.

Prayin’ oughta be done first girl.

No sense askin’ for savin’ in a hurricane.

I nod. Listening. Knowing more was to come.

Pick yer horse. Saddle up. Give God the reins.

You gotta ride with God, prayerin first, not last.

He nods at a wild mare, she comes running but dashes away.

She’s got the devil in her. Praying won’t save ya from a wreck.

Prayer woulda told ya to ride the sorrel tho, she’s steady and true.

How often, do we grab the pretty bronc, saddle up and pray as we fly?

Gettin’ bucked off don’t mean the end, but why pray after the ground hits?

Prayin is first thing ya do before yer eyes open, an at the last as they close.

Be thankful for whatcha have, whatcha missed and what makes ya stronger.

Even a quiet horse will hop ya around, but that makes ya a better horseman.

I rub the ears of a sweet old mare, kid’s horse, and give her a treat. I nod. I hear.

 

 for Open Link Night

Birth of a legend

They say men won the west, they may have but women kept the heart beat alive!

Kokum teaches us that the man is the head but no head lives long without a heart.

A lady of the west she was! Unknown to most, but to us she was magical!

She Who Rides Alone was always brave. Her courage honoured her family.

Side saddle breaking colts! Can you imagine it son? Never saw her astride.

Her wagons always held such good food for her people. A spirit of sharing.

Bucked the pins outta her hair they say, but she didn’t lose her seat! No sir.

She was tall and straight, like a young pine. Her smile like later winter sun.

Jumped fences on that mule! Drove a painted team. Drove field draft too.

Our People kept her ways clear. The Kainai thought us unwise, cowardly.

No drover could meet her courage hauling her wagon loads home.

The Kainai stopped her one day, wanted to take her food. Her horses.

Where’s Nell? Gone to town. Alone? Nah she has the horses with her.

They tell of her grey eyes, like first frost of fall, and then the fire spoke.

It was a befuddlement to them all why she never had no trouble. Ha!

Her skirts they thought hid treasure to take. A woman weak. No warrior.

Like Annie Oakely! Calamity Jane! True grit she showed them injuns.

She did not stop or slow her wagon. Her horses walked like the great ice.

Where she got that gun, Albert he never said to me. He just smiled so sly.

Her voice was soft but strong. A wide willow branch. One word. NO.

They tell it, them who heard it later, that she kept on driving through ’em.

And in her hand the fire spoke, the men’s gun alive in a woman’s hand.

They never seen something like that. That gal Nell held her own for sure.

One shot. One word. She went on. No man fell. No horse fell. Their spirits fell.

We heard the shot, who didn’t? By the time we came a running it was long done.

Their insides became weak like tea water. They never came back here again.

She didn’t say much. Just that she runned ’em off with Jesus and Samuel Colt.

 

 

Brian has us playing with story telling and tall tales. This one is the same story told by two tellers to two audiences. One a cowboy relating the tale around the chuck fire and the other by an Elder of the Cree nation to their young people.  The awe of a young white man met by the respect of a Cree elder. The woman, and the story, are mostly true. Embellished a bit from stories told to me about the mother of my Great Grandmother who came to Canada in a covered wagon and farmed, broke horses and tended her family with grace, courage and love. She was a tall Scots woman, grey eyed and likely to outward appearances quite stern. But she rode horses with abandon, and faced life head on with courage so I suspect there was a spirit there that had a wry sense of humor as well.  The Cree and Kainai (Blackfoot) fought often along their borderlands, with their last great battle being a rout on the home turf of the Blackfood by the raiding Cree. The Canadian West has some rich history, no?

 

Check out the rest of the poets at dVerse!