Posted by: Oklahoma Sun | January 2, 2010

Lines to an Old Cow-Pony.

Lines to an Old Cow-Pony.
(As Penned by a Tenderfoot.)

J. Walter Baird. The Texas Magazine, 1913.


THEY said he was a “family” horse,
And tied him to a tree;
They said all the “children rode him,”
And bragged how safe he’d be;
But when I got in the saddle

He jumped just like a flea,
And all the “leather” ever made
Was not enough for me;
I couldn’t reach a single strap,
Nor grip him with my knee,
I couldn’t jerk his fool head up
Nor reach the saddle, he
Was like a crazy cyclone that
Is out upon a spree.

The time? No stop-watch ever made
Could estimate the thing,
So splintered was it into bits,
And always on the spring.
I rode that pony forty miles,
All in a ten-foot ring,
I saw a bushel of new stars,
I heard the angels sing;
I heard a sound like many birds
Afloat on restless wing.
That “family” horse sure “felt his oats,”
He knew both “biff” and “bing,”
He gave the double-shuffle, and
He cut the pigeon-wing.

That “family” horse was business-like,
He capered all around;
He sure did finish up the job,
He wound and then unwound.
But I don’t bear him any grudge,
Nor wish to be renowned
Because I rode a lightning-flash,
There’s slower things, I’ve found.
I thank the good Lord that the sand
Was carpeting the ground
On which I struck else I might be
Beneath my little mound
With bones all cracked and out of joint,
And not a cheerful sound.

When that cow-hoss is old and blind,
And crippled up and gray—
Say, twenty years from now, perhaps—
Well, then perhaps I may
Go ‘round and take a look at him—
See how the pastures lay—
See how much sand is all about,
And, if he’s had “his day,”
And then, perhaps—perhaps, you know—
Perhaps I’ll get some hay
And feed the brute, and treat him kind,
And—well—perhaps—I may
Just look at him and “size him up,”
Then softly fade away.