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                    You must have gone crazy out there.
                    - Mike Burton (“Night Rider’s Lament”)

They were wild when we were fresh and lean
as young bulls first turned-out to service
what the masters couldn’t reach without work.

We were for hire, I’d say, weaned on Roy
and Gene, and rose to ride where truth and proof
met up, where myth was forged with luck

that we’ve forgot. Horns in the brush, we matched
both eye and blood and won most times, I think – fresh
and lean as young bulls first turned-out to service!

The steep we stirred alive with hooves, the rock
we scuffed with steel, as old oaks shared grins
from limb to limb and the near hawks watched until

we learned to let cattle think ‘escaping’ when
they ain’t – when ‘quick’ is cut in half by going slow
enough to heed what’s best for men and beast.

With summer’s long days and the physical part of fall feeding behind us, and with Elko ahead, I’m having fun and writing on a roll during these dark and foggy mornings. This is about as close to a cowboy rhymer as I’ve been for awhile – I still crave the iambic lyrical line.

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The opinions expressed in the Western Folklife Center's Deep West online journals are those of the online journal participants and not the Western Folklife Center. The Western Folklife Center does not moderate these journals and as such does not guarantee the veracity, reliability or completeness of any information provided in the journals or in any hyperlink appearing within them.

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