Western Poetry posted April 12, 2009


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This work has reached the exceptional level
Cowboy and Indian meet as friends (nice story)

The Guest

by The Cowboy Poet

The Guest

The fire burned low as night approached;
He threw more wood and fanned the flame.
He'd traveled many weary miles,
Long running with an outlaw's name.

His guns hung low upon his hip,
A vicious man best left alone.
He'd had hard times in lots of towns,
Told more than once to just move on.

A lone coyote howled forth his song,
A sad refrain the man knew well,
For in their veins a longing ran
Far deeper than the fires of hell.

Feared by all men who knew his name,
He had no place he could call home;
The friends he'd had, much like himself,
Had drawn too slow and now were gone.

A muffled sound came from above;
His hand like lightning drew his gun.
A figure from the shadows came,
His arm aloft, one man alone.

In broken speech he softly spoke
The only white man's words he knew;
The dress and markings that he wore
The outlaw recognized as Sioux.

"I come in peace," he slowly said;
He neared the fire and then sat down.
A guest in need of food and warmth,
For honest men is common ground.

No other words passed for a while;
Each man seemed watchful of his back.
The meal now done and cleared away,
The host brought forth a leather sack.

From its contents he rolled two smokes,
And then returned it to its vest;
He lit them both there in the fire,
Handing one to his welcomed guest.

They felt at ease, these lonely men,
Thankful for each one's presence there.
Two kindred hearts, bred of the West;
In other times a desperate pair.

The old Sioux spoke in halting tongue
As if his words would cause him pain.
The outlaw knew a heavy heart;
He many times had felt the same.

"I have walked this land for many moons;
My tribe was greatest of the Sioux.
We lived our lives and dwelt in peace
And gloried in the world we knew."

"I now am old but as a boy
I fought the whites and counted coup;
Then I became Lakota chief,
Greatest leader among the Sioux."

"The Great Black Hills was long our home,
But like locusts the white man came
To find the yellow rock they sought
And fence in all the open range."

"The wooly herds on which we fed
Are gone like feathers in the wind,
And we were pushed from place to place
Until we were no longer men."

"Still on I fought with my small band,
In fiercest battles counting coup.
Many scalps on our lances hung;
Great was the honor of the Sioux."

He paused as if to find his thoughts;
The outlaw saw a beaten man.
A warrior once, he'd lost his world;
A fate that he could understand.

He once again took up his tale
As if he had too much to say;
The sun would rise soon in the East.
Each would go his separate way.

"My last great fight in legend lives;
Many the Great Spirit took that day.
The white chief with the yellow hair
Too proud to see where danger lay."

"That fated hour our forces met;
Our braves numbered three thousand strong.
Crazy Horse fought at Rosebud Creek,
My tribe at the Little Big Horn."

"Great Custer fell as others had
Who have false glory in their sight;
So many died on that sad day,
Both white eyes and red man alike."

"But like the number of the stars,
Too soon more blue clad soldiers came;
Until our tribes were all but gone,
And we were no more than a name."

"I surrendered last of all my braves;
No others would die in my name.
To reservations we were moved;
My honor now became my shame."

"Made a part of the white man's world;
Put on display in wild west shows.
Once greatest of the Indian chiefs,
I became lowest of the low."

"I must return to those I left;
The white man's yoke is now our fate.
My people need a leader most
To speak for them before too late."

His story done, he slowly rose;
The light came streaking across the land.
They stood and clasped each other's arm,
Two brothers of two outcast clans.

"What is your name?" the outlaw asked,
"To call forth when my heart is full."
"As Tatanka I am known," he said.
"Your people call me Sitting Bull."


Recognized


A story of one of the great Indian tribes which suffered when the settlers came West and started fencing in the lands they had hunted for generations. They had no choice but to fight to preserve their way of life. Sorry, if it's too long. Rhymeman.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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