Western Poetry posted March 26, 2009


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This work has reached the exceptional level
A horse is a cowboy's best friend.

Old Reckless

by The Cowboy Poet

Old Reckless

Old Reckless was the grandest horse,
Though called a "plug" by some;
His riding and his roping days
Most nigh were all but done.

He'd stand alone in the corral
While colts would frisk about;
And when the stir became too much,
I'd go and let him out.

He never strayed far on his walks;
He'd come each time I'd call.
And when the nights turned bitter cold,
He had a cozy stall.

Semi-retired in human terms,
I'd ride him now and then;
We'd round up calves to make him feel
That he was young again.

"He'd make good glue," the boys would say
In jest to get my goat,
But then they'd sneak him sugar cubes
And brush his auburn coat.

They knew quite well that in our past
A common bond we shared
Of life or death some years ago
When I was newly hired.

The owner said, "This here's yore horse.
He's skittish just a bit."
I called him Reckless, which he liked;
The name just seem to fit.

For four good years we rode the range,
On herd and mending line;
He never failed to hold his own
In drives or branding time.

Cowboys expect this from their horse;
Old Reckless was the same.
Then came the day I still give thanks
He lived up to his name.

That fateful day the sky was dark;
A storm had fast appeared.
The lightning forked across the sky,
And thunder spooked the steers.

A tree was struck right in our path
And knocked me to the ground.
My leg was cracked; I couldn't move.
Reckless could not be found.

The herd broke hard into a run,
And I too hurt to flee,
When from that mass I saw him come,
Hell bent to get to me.

He pulled up hard, his body stiff
As if to block the tide;
He wouldn't move despite the doom
Approaching on all sides.

The stirrup lay within my grasp;
Inside, I put my hand
And spoke to him in tones he knew,
The bond of horse and man.

He pulled me til the tree that fell
Now blocked the cattle's way;
They split in two; a sea of steers
Passed where we safely lay.

I mended soon and many trails
We've ridden since that day;
And reckless though that horse may be,
I want him just that way.

The debt I owe I gladly pay
The only way I know
In giving him part of the life
He saved so long ago.


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I've always loved horses. This is a special one.
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