Horatian Ode to the Horseman

jackroping1989No headstall here! Yep, that’s me.

Horatian Ode* to the Horseman

 

1 The Elucidation
The Horseman is a state unknown to science
Academics study while excluded
Flying over pedal mind or conscience
Merge of minds that fiction has alluded
As antithesis and thesis trust
A giving and receiving with consent
Transcending czars and envied by the oarsman
Bliss with truce a must
The primate coronet, poetic scent
No longer only human, now a Horseman.
2 The Metamorphosis
As Pegasus inpir’d the poets past
Beloved Chiron Centaur, ‘lysian Plains;
H. Sapiens and Equine form a caste.
Poetic myth expounds past Logic gains.
Its metamorphoses didacts hold
When caterpillar turns to butterfly
As need and time cocoon’d ‘midst due course, man
And beast their wings unfold
Afresh, emerge, loose fears and wills to fly
No longer only human, now a Horseman.
3 The Theatre
The cowboy “Cult of Skill”** includes the Rider
As apprentice or initiate
But skill’d Hands, “saddle earned”and no outsider
Horse will know as more than candidate
In harmony they blend as unitized
Dues paid, horse-raised, a Master of the clan
With strengths and senses doubled- Greek or Norseman-
Myth materializ’d
Not nearly God, superior to man,
No longer only human, now a Horseman.
4 The Pragma
Our natures often play against the blend.
Predator and prey must change their part.
The dreaded hunter must be found a friend
While hunted wretch surrenders rebel’s heart
In languages of cues reciprocate
To answer reins and pressures of the knee
Note ears and lips indicate recourse, man
And horse communicate.
Equine perspective often teaches thee…
No longer only human, now a Horseman.
* This verse form was made popular in the 1800’s by John Keats
as in “Ode to a Nightingale”.
** Buck Ramsey, in conversation, referred to the cowboy culture as a
“cult of skill” including its initiation, etiquette, and fellowship.
The 3 ranks and qualifications listed in the poem were
contrived by the author. Buck also made editorial contributions.

Son of the Legend?

jack-sparkplug-pic

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?

Ropin’ Lessons

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.

 

3/8/95