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  • From the Bar D roundup

    The Philosopher

    (A Tribute to Owen Barton, 1987)

    They gave me a gentle old pony

    Too fat and lazy to run,

    And sent me out on the rangeland

    To see what the drought had done.

    I could see it was only a Grandpa chore

    To get me out of the way,

    So I filled my canteen with water

    And quietly rode away.

    When I reached the forks of the draw

    There was no water in the ditch.

    In just two hours my horse had the scours,

    And I had a case of the itch.

    The spot where the beaver pond once stood

    Is a big dusty salt lick now,

    But I can remember when late in September

    There was water to drown a cow.

    But the ditch rider came along one day

    With five sticks of dynamite;

    He drained every drop of water

    And blew the dam clear out of sight.

    The beavers were the best engineers

    Our valley ever had,

    But the Government trapper took 'em out,

    He said their influence was bad.

    The cowboys dug out Moonshine Spring

    To get water in big supply,

    And now there is a four-inch pipe,

    And the whole dam thing is dry!

    I sat down there on the rim-rock

    With these troubles on my mind,

    And then I saw a hereford bull

    The cowboys had left behind.

    His head was hangin' near the ground

    With a tongue too dry to drip.

    And a protected species magpie

    Roostin' on his hip.

    'Twas then I saw a flash of brown

    In the shaded brush near by,

    A mangy, thirsty old coyote

    Just waitin' for the bull to die.

    I was wishin' for a rifle

    As she walked over to a hole,

    But when I saw her starvin' pups

    I was ready to shoot that bull!

    It's tough to get confused and old

    After all the miles I've trod,

    Me, a sittin' on the rim-rock

    Tryin' to act like God.

    While criticizin' all the dumb mistakes

    I've seen some people make,

    I should surely know by now

    Life ain't no piece of cake.

    But I've got my satisfaction

    And had my biggest thrills,

    Just watchin' coyotes and magpies

    And thinkin' about red ant hills.

    © Colen H. Sweeten Jr.

    June 11, 2009