Horatian Ode* to the Horseman
The Cowman, the Cowboy, and Grandma’s Medicine Man
Old “Mr. McCarty” was an honest cowman.
Worked hard, every deal made square.
Raised his brothers and sisters, taught school at Lone Star,
Brilliant and strong, tho’ austere.
Took care of his help, extr’ blankets, good food;
Cared for them like he’d want to be treated.
Wanted everybody happy with every trade he made
Even if he got a little bit cheated.
Put together a good ranch while others went down.
Helped others while makin’ his place.
He understood land, good cows and men,
Invested with cash as a base.
My Grandpa Pete was a wild cowboy
Liked adventure and challenge or a dare.
Unpredictable, irresistible, the favorite funny man.
He’d show up, but no tellin’ where.
Ray Reed says “Casey Tibbs couldn’t ride a better bronc,
And he played a fiddle good as Bob Wills.”
When I think about his touch and his blood that’s in my veins
The possibilities give me cold chills.
Grandpa Pete’s a friendly guy, liked by anyone he met.
Railroaders tell of his heroic deeds.
But a’straddle the bottle, he’d make his last ride
While scatterin’ destructive seeds.
Grandma Margie’s history can’t be quite traced,
The records have all been burned.
She was sensitive to the supernatural world,
The shaman arts she learned*.
If there is a Cherokee connection here,
Some tell it, some will deny it.
Her last few years, I was her close friend.
Even in pain she was kind- to her credit.
Grandma’s little trailer house was a stall full of love.
I was received there night or day.
Tho’ we didn’t agree on every important thing,
There’s nothing that we couldn’t say.
Mr. McCarty put the math in my head.
Pete’s music is deep in my heart.
Grandma’s magic touch is still in my bones,
Where’ll I go with such a start?
Influenced strongly by a magistrate,
A clown, and a warrior brave,
Whether methodical, moody, or mystical,
At home in a mansion, a cabin or a cave.
With nothing I wasn’t given by
A school teacher, a singer, and a sage or
A man, a curious child, or everyone’s best friend.
I’ve a scientific, spontaneous, spiritual guage.
Managed 7-figure budgets and over 40 hands
By the age of 25
Makin’ music and rhyme since I could talk,
My spirit is active and alive.
Most thanks goes out to my patient parents
When sortin’ out who I can,
When hung ‘tween the cowman, cowboy,
And Grandma’s medicine man.
The trail is not so simple when
Measured from 3 different views.
To pave a way for others to follow
May my be example be fit to choose.
Cactus Jack McCarty 12/24/’94
- G’ma’s funeral was a spiritist event, not Native American, but kinda’ like a séance, and she had a crystal ball on her coffee table. When I came to Christ, I had a lot of spiritual warfare ahead of me.
Son of the Legend?
7/’96 read at Grandmother McCarty’s funeral 9/11/’96
As old hands struggle to remember,
Young ones try not to forget
While bustin’ brush to cut their trails,
They ponder horseback- jet to jet.
The values of a generation
Past live on past lives ahead.
Philosophies live longer than
The personalities now dead.
For “As a man thinks…”in his heart
The man will prove indeed to be;
His children will reflect his ways.
His wisdom walking all will see.
If flow’rs of grass bloom in his heart,
His offspring soon will bear the seeds
That love the land, the horse, the cow
On through the howl of corporate greed.
Taught that a man can stand up straight,
Talk plain and look you in the eye,
To seal a deal with a bare handshake;
His word’s still good when times are dry.
To judge a horse, look at his feet,
The value of a cow- her teeth,
Best land is shown wrap’d in a drought,
A man’s word shows the man beneath.
From timberline to desert floor,
From Quakie cold to Cholla heat,
The buckaroo to cowboy band
All seem to march with same heartbeat
In leather proven, hidden mettle
Buried ‘neath a wooden cross,
They tamed a land, became a legend.
Children mourn’d, then fill’d the loss.
Yet, what was needed to obtain
Will be required to preserve.
The land cares for the character
That cares for land as it deserves.
So, in the nightwind’s harshest seasons
Hear the land’s soft, whisper’d question:
Is there a son of the legend?
Does their wisdom ride again?
Journey or Destination? By Geesje
I can safely say that on November 30th, 2016 I received Christ in my heart. In spite of all that has happened before then, and my faith in God being older than that, the joy of being saved was never mine until recently.
It has changed me in a way I always thought was impossible. Yes, I have heard the stories and read the testimonies that claim there was a sudden peace in surrendering, asking for and being granted forgiveness after repenting, and accepting the gift of the Cross. In spite of my being baptized in 2010, I had never experienced it for myself.
Finally, my heart was changed, in the middle of a pile of laundry, as I admitted I cannot do it alone. I am not strong enough. I need Him.
My journey to get to this point has been a long one, with a lot of ups-and-downs along the way. My long distance pen-pal Jack, whom I have never seen in person, has been an inspiration and a wealth of knowledge when it comes to my travels on the path to my Savior. Jack now blogging at www.JesusChristExalted.com sent me emails, books, and music over the past 20 years, that have helped me to get to know the Lord better. Getting to know him as a gifted poet, Jack has shared his faith and his knowledge with me during the times when I was on spiritual crossroads in my life.
Jack pointed me to the Lord’s Prayer when I needed help to pray all those years ago. He was also the one I turned to on that November-night, when I felt lost, hurt, alone and so confused about what it was that God could want for me in my current situation. What would God want FROM me ?!?!
Jack pointed me to Matthew 5 and 6 in the Bible, and to a chapter in 1 Corinthians, so that I could read for myself what the answer was in God’s own Word. And reading, I did! And while reading those words I knew that what Jesus asked of me in Matthew 5 and 6, I could not do. I was not strong enough. I would have to have help.
So I got down on my knees and prayed. Prayed for Jesus to come and save me, to help me fight the darkness I felt surrounding me, to take my troubles and my worries from me, help me to be who He wants me to be, and help me to do what He wants me to do, rather than what I think is best.
I asked Him to forgive my sins, and change my ways from the inside out. And He did!
The years of struggle and slow progress to get to that point made me think I was “there”, that I had arrived, so to speak. I felt elated, walking on clouds! Happy to finally be saved and feeling like the Lord was really with me, inside of me, changing me from the inside out. I felt like singing His praises all day, and literally did.
And then, a couple of days later, Jack told me I needed to find a church close by, to be my family in Christ and to learn more. His own online guidance was not enough for a Newborn like myself, that I needed actual spiritual family…
For as long as I can remember, Jack has been the only spiritual family I have had. Even though living at the other side of the Atlantic, he has been there online during my struggles and questions. Jack has been the one to suggest I start this blog. Jack has been the one suggesting I start singing again. Jack has been like the voice of God to me.
And now he told me that I would have to find a family. And I didn’t like it one bit. I felt disappointed, rejected and abandoned. I didn’t need anyone over here, did I?! I had not before, and I was saved now. I had finally reached my destination, had I not?!
No. I had not.
It took a picture of my daughter to make me realize that I had been foolish to think so. My precious 4 year old, 7 pm on New Year’s eve, outside while it was dark.
Holding fireworks in her hand for the first time, her little safety glasses on, wide-eyed and oh so proud. She was lighting fireworks like the adults, and she was a really BIG girl now! Oh the look in her eyes, thinking she ‘had it made’! … not knowing that her ‘fireworks’ were merely sparklers and throw-downs. Literally child’s play compared to what would go up in to the sky, later, at midnight.
Yes, to her it was immense. But in reality, she was still at the start of her journey to being grownup. It will take several more years of growing up for her to experience the real fireworks at midnight. A lot of falling and getting back up, questions and struggles to learn and understand the risks that are involved and the consequences of her actions and choices.
In her eyes I saw my own feelings reflected: I had felt like I was all grownup now, like I had arrived at my destination and from here on it would all be a piece of cake. That I had overcome all danger and all sin and all struggle to finally be a saved Christian for real! My pride got the better of me, and I thought I could handle it, from now on. What Jack had tried to tell me was that he wanted to make sure that I would find all the support, help, and care that I need as a Newborn.
Because this is not a destination, but rather the start of another journey. Being reborn comes with a whole new world of challenges, experiences and questions. All of those needs are way more than a single brother in Christ, no matter how kind and Guided he may be, can answer and take care of from across the Ocean. I am not abandoned nor rejected. I will not lose the family I feel I have…. no, He simply wants for me to find more family!
So I am looking at churches around here. To see if there is a church that could be the family that I need. I no longer feel rejected or abandoned. I feel blessed because I am not travelling alone. And my brother in Christ? He is helping me, pointing out local churches that might be suitable that he finds through the Internet, sending me links and even looking up websites.
My God is a great God, for He has given me everything I need and more to grow so that I won’t have to be a newly born forever. And I thank Him for working His miraculous ways, across oceans and through cyberspace, with me every step on this journey. Because a journey is what it is. And that is what He does!
Deuteronomy 31:8 The Lord himself will go before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forget you. Don’t be afraid and don’t worry.
From a dear sister in Christ–Autumn
Journey of Destination? part 1
It was a long time ago. But I can still remember.
My parents and brother were gone from home. Watching the house and the dog, I must have been 20 something years old when the NEWS crushed my world and called my whole existence into question.
Earlier that year, my family had been shocked by the murder of my cousin’s baby girl. She was not even one year old, found outside of the house, and drowned in a ditch.
Babies like that don’t get up and walk outside while her parents are taking an 8 minute stroll, walking the dog together. It should have been perfectly safe for 8 minutes alone in her perfectly safe crib inside her perfectly safe house. Instead, someone came in, took her outside, dropped her in a ditch, and left her to die.
It had shocked our family.
Shortly after the girl had died, Jack helped me find a way to understand that perhaps her story on earth was fulfilled. Perhaps there were things God saw in her future we could not yet see, but God thought it better for her to come Home to Him. She would rest in His peace.
The biggest shock came a few weeks later. I was alone at the house when I heard the news. The woman who was supposedly responsible for the murder of my cousin’s baby was being set free by
the Justice Department because of lack of evidence. She was known to be ‘confused’ and there was a pretty clear vision of what had happened that night, but not all of it could be proven. So she was set free.
Hearing that news sent my head spinning and my heart crying out!
HOW?! How could this be? How could this young life end and this woman not pay for it? What kind of justice is that? What kind of
God would let someone get away with something as unforgivable as this!!?
My anger demanded some kind of punishment, some kind of justice, some kind of sign that God was Watching this! and Judging! DOING something!!!
To hear of this woman being set free, was just one shock too many for my fragile faith. This was not the God I had believed in for so long as a child. Not the righteous, just, and honest God who punishes the wrong and loves the right. If HE could not do something about this, who could?
I felt the ground fall from beneath me. I was lost! It felt as if God had abandoned me. If He were not around, then what had I been believing in?
Perhaps my parents and brother were right after all, and it was all just stories that they told children in school. To my family, it was a mystery how I had kept believing in the stories from the Bible I heard in school. They did not believe there was a God, and I was feeling like my certainty, my childlike trust in this God I had heard about, may have been a mistake indeed!
I needed not call my family to talk about this. They would have answered “God is not real.” But I was not ready to accept that kind of an answer.
That evening, I had to show up for duty at the local radio station. I was to be technical assistance for a few program makers and then spent the last 2 hours playing non-stop music until the airtime was over.
I rode my bike over to the studio and tried my best to get through the first two hours without too much talking.
The second program maker left the studio, the board meeting had finished up early as well, and the station manager dropped by the studio to let me know that I would be the one to close up the studio for the night. I closed the door behind them, making sure I would not be surprised by anyone coming in that had no business being there.
And started playing songs. Just random stuff I pulled out of the cd boxes next to me. And while I did, I could feel my questions just keep on whirling around in my head.
WHY?!! Why would she be allowed to walk free when my cousin and his family would have to live the rest of their lives with this loss?
While closing up, wandering about in that old house built in 1875,that we used for a studio, I found myself crying.
Angry tears. And then whispering. Angry whispers. Talking. Urgently talking. Shouting. Screaming. Yelling. Angry words. Angry questions. Questioning God out loud. Telling Him how angry I was, how unjust He had been. How much He had let me down! How furious I was!
And then, after a while… how sad I was, how confused and afraid I was, how lost I felt, thinking about a world without Him. But also how difficult it was for me to still believe that He was still true, still around… if He would let stuff like this happen.
Ain’t it funny, how you can tell whether someone is listening or not? How you can tell the difference between someone listening to you or reading the newspaper, while hidden behind that newspaper…?
Alone, in the last room that was still lit, I sat down on the floor and realized that He had been listening. All the time. To my yelling. To my whispering, my shouting, my screaming, my questions, my doubt and my fear.
And that it was all right. But it was not. NOT enough. It was NOT alright! My stubborn mind needed proof! Because I had believed Him there before hadn’t I? In spite of what my family said, I had believed God was there!
And yet, He could not be. Because why would He let this woman walk free. How COULD He?!?
So if there really was a plan for this, if He really had this covered, and most of all, if He wanted me to believe that He was real, He was going to have to show me. And I told Him, it had to be rather obvious, because I was really not gonna go ahead and fall for “just anything” this time.
I sat there and waited, but nothing happened. Nothing. Well, beside the clock ticking on and the building getting colder from the heater being automatically turned off…
So I got up and finished the closing up. Numb and sore from my outbursts, I put on the alarm after cleaning up the last dishes, and locked the door. I turned around on the steps to the front door, to walk to my bike. The same steps I had stood on, so many nights before this one, doing the exact same thing.
And this time, I looked up and saw it. A HUGE star. Glittering like a diamond, almost as if saying
And all the way home on my bike, that big glittering star was shining ahead of me. It seemed to be there every turn I made, every corner I took. Staring me right in the eye. Right until I arrived home.
My sign from God that He is here. Everywhere. If I care to look.
I felt peace knowing that He would listen to me, and even answer my cry, however futile I may be in this huge world. That I mattered enough to Him to have that star shine brightly for me.
Now that I had proof, I had 2 choices. I could go insane trying to hold on to my control, my ideas of what justice is and what should happen.
Or I could give it up. Give up trying to understand what His reasons might be. Surrender my need to know, my need to understand, and trust in Him. No longer question Him, or His presence.
And that is what I did. I surrendered to Him. I didn’t have to understand anymore. I just had to believe. Trust. And surrender.
Sounds so simple, don’t it? It does when I write it down now. But that was only the first time I have surrendered to God. Because control is hard to give up. My need to understand is strong. I am proud enough to think I know a lot and curious enough to want to learn more. But to give up that pride, that need to know, need to understand… is one of the things that I have had to keep on doing on a conscious level or I would slip right back in to my questioning.
One thing I have not questioned like this anymore, ever, is whether God is real or not. Since that day, I have been sure of it. I have been talking to Him, although I hardly ever visit a church, although my family still has no idea why I am so certain of God. He has been there on so many occasions, if only I put my ego aside and care to listen to what He wants from me. Through relationship trouble, addictions, re-organizations at work, and depression, I have seen Him there. I have felt His Hand on my back, felt His Arms around me, felt Him listening, guiding me.
for more of Geesje’s writing, see and like her blog:
another Italian sonnet
A Seasonal Sonnet
“It came to pass…” eternal Scriptures read.
Once mist-air-dust, then mud with breath combined
Becomes a form that now can feel and bleed
To dust a trail that choices leave behind.
The frozen branch that’s leaf-forsaken, still,
Though dormant through obstinate seasons, waits
With life protected, hidden in the Root,
And beauty sleeping, quiet ‘neath the chill
In hope, will bud again on springtime dates
To be rewarded with a harvest fruit,
That is the Seed where life is introduced
With love and song and laughter to be loosed.
A fruitfulness in winter is absurd,
So faithfulness near death is then preferred.
We won’t rush rudely into Your Presence
To get what we need and then leave-
We have now come to You as we are.
So please, bathe us ’til fit to receive.
Though our past flashes failures that whip,
Or successes that hold us at bay.
Can not deal with tomorrow.
Such grace we can’t borrow.
We seize Your great plan for today.
Turn our hearts into sweet harmony,
As our wills You align into one;
Our desires are open to You.
We have come here to follow the Son.
Whether working the fields ripe for harvest
Or lone in the closet of pray’r,
As our Christ is exalted,
And we are anointed,
We’ll go where You go – anywhere.
Waiting, hungry with anticipation
For whispers of Your loving Word.
Drawing close to hear all that You’re saying
Because of our thirst for You, Lord.
Whether snuggl’d close, safe in Your lap,
Giggling, bouncing so high on Your knee,
All our cares are erased
By Your tender embrace;
We’re together, alone, feeling free.
You’re the focus of our full attention.
We watch for the look in Your eyes,
As we hush for the beat of Your heart,
We are carried by You through the skies.
We can climb back up into Your lap
Once again just to bounce on Your knee
To be loved, yes, restored,
Heal’d, protected, and more,
Happy, salting the earth, being free.
‘Fore we leave from this place of Your Goodness,
To walk among people again,
Change our lives prepp’d to carry Your Presence;
Your passion to dwell among man.
Ropin’ Lessons – A True Story
Boys we were then, ages 12 and 10,
Brother Rick’s first year out using twine.
With lessons to learn, my saddle had turned
But the calf I had snared bedded fine.
My cinch was too slack, so I straightened the kack
The lariat tied fast to the tree.
With the saddle upright, the latigo pulled tight,
With fresh wind, the calf tried to flee.
While I’m still on the ground, with no help around,
That idiot rimfired my mount.
That pony did fly, snagged calf bounced so high
All his feet in the air I could count.
Durned calf in the sky, I’d figger he’d die
As my horse headed straight for Rick’s.
A’leadin’ his catch in, he soon lost his grin-
Loose horses and horn knots don’t mix.
‘Fore Rick could get down, my horse wrapped him ‘roun’
He got tangled in death-trap noose.
Roy Slagle dove in, riskin’ his own skin
With belt-knife, started cuttin’ Rick loose.
Now ropin’ I might, my cinch is near tight.
Even accuse me of a dallywelt.
Won’t tie to a horse I can’t trust, of course,
While I carry a knife on my belt.