Posted by: Oklahoma Sun | January 9, 2010

Wheel Tracks.

Wheel Tracks.

Elliott C. Lincoln. Rhymes of a Homesteader, 1920.


A FULL day’s ride from the nearest town,
Where the coyote howls an evening song
And the sun-baked earth is cracked and brown,
Two faint old wheel tracks drift along.

Did a prairie schooner pass this way
In the dusty haze of a summer day,
Rolling and dipping over the swells
As it followed the winding grade?
Or was it the Fargo stage went by,
With a shotgun messenger perched on high,
Swinging out in a wide detour
From the hostile ambuscade?

Did a gray-beard teamster hold the lines
On a freighter bound for the placer mines,
There where a black gulch notches the range
Thirty miles from ranch or road?
Or a sunburned lad in the army blue
Of C Troop, rushing the rations through,
Sharp eyes watching the distant smoke
Of a Cheyenne signal code?

The faint old wheel tracks drift along
Just visible to the keenest sight.
Can you hear the hoofs and the cracking thong?
Was it peaceful travel, or running fight?