Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Cowboys and horses and little girl's tears

Cowboys and Horses and little Girl’s tears.
Maureen Clifford © The Scribbly Bark Poet

Inspired by a story told by
Mike Moutoux – New Mexico’s enchanting cowboy.

The cowboy stood there in the room just talking to the kids
and telling them about his horse and all the things he did
like roping, branding, rounding up – that’s mustering in Australia
the kids were all entranced by him , dazzled by his regalia.
His boots had silver spurs attached with rowels shiny bright,
around his neck a neckerchief , shaded blue, red and white.
His leather chaps had longhorn steer conchos  firmly attached,
his belt buckle a bucking bull – his jeans were worn and patched.

He told them “Yes -  cowboying  is what I do for a crust
and like your Dads and Brothers we spend hours wreathed in dust
working beneath a sun so hot it could blister your brain
and we too search  the heavens,  always looking out for rain.
Our horses are our buddies – well out here you call them Mates.
We’re not so very different, that’s why we can relate.
My best friend’s name is Trigger and he’s coloured like a dollar
the darkest shade of gold and like a good dog, he will follow.”

He noticed as he told his tales one girls face wet with tears
and being a kind hearted bloke he leant to share her fears.
“Have you too got a horse you love?  And is he your best friend?”
Why don’t you tell his story now – and help us comprehend
your sadness.  Why tears streak your face – will you share it with me?”
“I will” the little girl replied “I’m very sad you see.
My horses name is Ginger and he really is quite old
He was born long before I was – twenty years I’ve been told.

The drought is hitting really bad – Dad’s shot a lot of stock.
We’re nearly out of water, we’ve off loaded half the flock
and Dad has said the bank won’t give a single cent in cash
our overdraft is way to high – he says we’ve done our dash.
He says that more stock has to go – they’ll only starve and die
and I’ve prayed to the bloke upstairs for rain – I don’t know why
‘cause he doesn’t seem to listen and each day Dad says the dry
is getting further reaching and Mister that makes me cry.

I love Ginger – he is my mate – my truly bestest friend
and I know he is hungry but this drought don’t never end.
I’m feeding him short rations – lucerne every other day
but that has nearly gone now and for more we cannot pay.
I know he’s old and slower but to shoot him – well that’s mean.
But to see him starve is cruel too – he isn’t a machine.
His hips are sticking out now I can even count his ribs.
Mum says that it will rain soon but I think she’s telling fibs.”

The cowboy stood and pondered for he felt the young ones pain
and nothing he could do or say was going to make it rain.
When days were dark and dreary and one gave in to despair
sometimes the only thing left was the powerfulness of prayer.
He sometimes talked when on the range to the bloke there upstairs
and felt his voice was carried on the balmy prairie airs
He asked the teachers permission to say a prayer for rain
and all the little ones joined in - the girl was calm again.

I’d like to say their prayers came true and everything was right
and it did rain eventually for half a day and night
and fodder magically appeared on board a big prime mover
from funds supplied by city folks – a tactical manoeuvre.
Old Ginger ate some tucker as did the rest of the cattle.
The Cowboy caught a plane back home his own demons to battle
A farmers still a farmer no matter where his range
all at the whims of nature – but they count it fair exchange.

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