October 1, 2013

Max’s Musings

By Max Molleston

Sometime back I enjoyed reading, and bringing to you a verse from a volume of western, make that “cowboy” poetry, edited by John C. Dofflemyer, from the volume titled Maverick Western Verse. Last time I brought you the old rancher who stayed and bought land, which others surrendered to hard times and for other reasons. It is a good poem. The life of being a cowboy continues, quite differently than 125 to 150 years in the past. Then, cowboys managed large cattle herds on established trails. Cattle drives were featured in a many good and bad motion pictures with movie stars singing or not. Sidekicks and romantic interests moved beside and through the herds, on the few trails leading from the southwest to a rail load point and to slaughter. So how does one poet forge the new life? Charles Potts does one version in

“Cowboys Between Ranches.”

Mom and Dad auctioned their ranch in 1960
To pay the bills and go back
To teaching school and washing dishes.

Me and 50 million other
Back to the landers who lost their footing
Since the Great Depression
Would like to have the land back.

Me and my brothers provide the service,
A packer and guide, an agriculture contractor
A real, estate broker.

Hardly any cowboys own the land they ride.
Will any of us be able to afford it again?

I’ll go back to my heavily mortgaged half acre
And its 3000 head of box elder bugs,
The neighbors five cats and the perennial raccoons.

They come down the creeks
looking for Catfood and crayfish.
Their eyes remind me of the wilderness
Glowing defiantly in the dark.

This Charles Potts poem borders on tongue-in-cheek, if it was not the truth spelled out. Some of you reading into his poem and his stances about “ranching” truth may relate strongly to the changes that came in these lines laid down by poet Potts. They have come in our lives, too. We may be among the millions who left farming when the toil would no longer provide a living other than subsisting. Decisions by the hundreds about a life we were not going to tolerate if there was a job in town we could get hired to and do. Millions did that. Harvest is coming to our fields, and there is always the question of how good the crop is, or not. Join me here in November when we ought to know more about a lot of things in our lives.

Filed Under: Personal Growth

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