Posted by: Oklahoma Sun | December 30, 2009

The Station Brand

The Station Brand.

Will H. Ogilvie. Fair Girls and Gray Horses, 1899.


HO! you in the boots and the long-necked spurs,
You’ve a nice little hackney there!
I rather fancy that brand of hers—
Now, what will you take for the mare?
You need not go off on too wide a tack—
I’m hardly in want of a horse;
And I’m only pricing your chestnut hack
For the sake of the brand, of course.
I don’t know where you were born or bred,
But I’ll give you a stranger’s hand
For love of that lean, game, fiery head.
And the sake of the Tringa brand.

No, thanks; I don’t fancy exchanges,
Besides, she’s a bit of a screw,
As old as the Barrier Ranges,
And shook in the shoulders, too!
Now, what is the use of denial?
Much better have let things stand—
No, thank you, I want no trial:
I’m buying the Tringa brand!
I know that she’ll carry me fast and far
In waterless waste or wet,
For never the T R I and a Bar
Was burnt on a bad one yet.

Do I know the brand? Yes, I think I do;
I’ve carried it, hell-fire hot,
To the stockyard fence and passed it through
For many a cleanskin lot;
I’ve heard it hiss on the burning hide,
And the short, sharp whinny of pain
As they lifted it off to thrust aside
Or lay to the lines again.
Do I know the brand? I have watched it streak
To the front in the mustering days—
But why do I tell you—you’ve heard it speak,
And you know what the old brand says!

For ask of the drovers from North of Bourke,
The Kings of the Overland,
Which are the horses to stand the work:
They will tell you—the Tringa brand!
And question the mailmen in flood-stress met,
Flogging, down in the mud,
Which are the pearls when the plains are wet:
They will tell you—the Tringa blood!
And ask the men of the Furthest Back
What their favorite campers are
In the whirling dust when the stockwhips crack;
And it’s T R I and a Bar.

You can have your price!—it’s a lot too much
As horses are selling to-day!
But a man is a fool and acts as such
When sentiment shows the way;
She’s spavined and aged and shoulder-shook.
Yet I’m not regretting the deal,
For the old brand shows like an open book
What nothing else can reveal—
The far-off life with its witching charms
And the glamour of sun and star
In the happy days when our coat-of-arms
Was T R I and a Bar!