He was an old Crow Indian
Rejected by all his kin,
That never fit in any world,
But now lived among white men.
He must have been near one hundred
In our scale of years on earth,
And acquired a wealth of wisdom
From the first day of his birth.
All his words would tell his visions,
And I can hear them all still—
Especially his prophecy:
The dark horse upon the hill.
The time would be of many storms,
And grim changes would occur—
There would be wars and many deaths
And the bloody, silver spur.
The chiefs would be great and many,
Yet their medicine be bad—
And on the land would be defeat—
Squaws would wither and be sad.
Yet, there would be one still more feared
To trap us with his cruel will—
The one that spoke of hope and change:
That dark horse upon the hill.
And so the once great nation falls
And becomes like all the rest—
The mighty banner now unfurled
As it sinks into the West.
Yes, that old Crow saw it all then—
Now we know the coming chill—
We hold blinded eyes open to
The dark horse upon the hill.
It transferred like bequest's constrain;
the ghostly harbor - my sixth sense,
men's goals had died, on lives' expense,
- this notion bothered me again.
Had sent the mail - my filed advice -
the ghosts of gunmen who have died,
on moors they stood yonside old pride,
- the Rider asked his deathly price.
In air he thumped, his rhythm - gust waves;
demanding cruel new death toll;
in town each woman wore black stole,
the 'killed in duel' dwell in graves;
The Rider hummed - our vessel moored
inside this port on Nueces' edge,
much red was shed on cypress sedge
- my instincts sharpened and inured.
Tall stood he on the wharf - I knew
the wind whipped ropes upon head-mast,
- we drew the guns; he lifted fast;
my two guns bucked debt-law to ensue.
I felt the slug - he moved across,
already-a-ghost, on moors he stood;
I tasted blood - got up - I should,
with red drops staining grass and moss.
I saw her standing on the field
amid red poppies and tall trees,
her thought became my holy shield,
bestowed thenceforth, her grace in breeze.
She spread her arms and called me eft,
above the clouds to Astral Halls
athwart stood gunman - fast and deft
in Tombstone, Mobile and Sioux Falls.)
I rolled and lit a Durham smoke
with children watching me round-eyed;
that March, (I thought), a gunman died,
I heard bells' knell and two crows croak.
© G.V. 07-18-2013
(Ballad - Iambic tetrameter)
Sponsor: Poet Destroyer A
Contest Name: Ballad (old/new)
Dark angel of heartbeating pound,
sixth sense of premonition glide,
kin to his ways and scopes to bound,
steel spurs transmit the word around,
the deathwalk starts on dusty ground,
Smith-Wesson guns, tied down his side
Dark angel of heartbeating pound,
sixth sense of premonition glide.
On deathwalk's noon, with light increased,
the shelling slugs will serve the cause,
hands flash and men attend Death's feast,
(gunfighters tho' had ne'er believed,
that once will be 'mid the deceased);
atrocious are, the drawing laws,
On deathwalk's noon with light increased,
the shelling slugs will serve the cause.
Gunfighter walks on dust, midday,
where forty fours will blossom fire,
his eyes traverse the town's details,
a draw of bluff on deathwalk trail,
will have sixes' to beat, twin play,
black coat, gun belt - and dry briar.
Gunfighter walks on dust, midday,
where forty fours will blossom fire.
© G. V. 11/5/2012 All rights reserved
( Ballad - Triolet )
It slides softly in the night sky,
That pale moccasin of the moon—
It lights up a snow-bleached prairie—
Whispering summer comes too soon.
We trace the trail of coyotes—
Avoid the dark dens of the bear—
The full light of your white footprint
Lures us now to your fatal lair.
Oh, we chant into the black dome
Of all the things that used to be—
There’s no more Indian summer—
Long gone are Cree and Cherokee.
Yet, still the silky stealthy tread
Brings back images bright and keen—
Of lost Native Americans
Where so few are now seldom seen.
But moons do not let us forget
All the wild blood shed on both sides—
As we trace steps of moccasins
To where the dark of the moon hides.
Yes, it walks gently in tall sky,
That faint moccasin of new moon—
So gently it illuminates
As we dance mutely to its tune.
He rode in from Texas, calmly chewing a piece of straw.
Folks rumored him a Ranger, some sorta man of Law.
An expressionless face, eyes close 'n stern.
Long barreled pistol, well kept 'n tied down firm.
It was the thirtieth of October, I remember it well.
Sit back 'n relax, I'll narrate the Stranger's tale.
Beer 'n whiskey shots, made the Stranger's tongue loose.
Tugs at his scarf, revealed scars from a noose.
Said he'd come to Denver, to escape the prairie fires.
Recipients of his story, placed him amongst certain liars.
Utterances of bright lights, in a calm night watch dream.
Stampeded cattle, loud voices 'n a haunting scream.
Empty hollow eyes, like death the Stranger was cold.
The annual midnight curse, is what the Ranger told.
Awoke in the saddle, by a Dark Angel of certain death.
Calm night air stirred, vapors rise from cattle's breath.
Focus controlled visions of the chilled dark night.
Squinted images appear from his questioned sight.
At one stroke past midnight, the curse we all had seen.
The Stranger changed to a man of straw, twas now Halloween!
By Jim "Ish" Fellers
Copyright © : August 31st, 2003 ~ Sunday
I did not drive the roan that day,
Just saddled up my old dark bay,
To check out fences far afield
And breathe in life with all its yield.
Near border’s end I came upon
A fresh, dead cow down by the pond.
I wondered why it had died here
With water and spring grass so near.
I spurred my horse and reined away
But something said that I should stay—
I creaked down from my saddle’s reach
And saw the cow had died in breech.
I knew they should be buried soon,
By light of day or dark of moon.
I left them there, that calf and cow
And rode back home in thought somehow.
I had forgot that scene of death
Till summer quickly took my breath
And once again I passed that shell
Of twisted skin and faded smell.
The worms had done their work it seems
On frenzied flesh and faltered dreams.
Yet, still I stared like at a grave—
Thought how we took but seldom gave.
Then autumn came and tinted trees
With colors each low creature sees.
So on my horse I sought them out,
To answer what this life’s about.
A mute Madonna—sticks of bone,
Still nestled there so all alone.
We live and die, the season’s dawn,
We’re all breech born before we’re gone.
In winter’s wind the world turns cold
As cow and calf and man grow old.
Yet, now there’s no sinew or hide
To hint of life or what’s inside.
Death’s passion passed and so did I
To pay respects and say goodbye.
For man and beast all die as kin—
I will not ride this trail again.
They say he had three Mothers
The Earth, the Wind, and Water
And His father was the Sun
And the Moon was his daughter
He wore a gun in his belt
With clothing made from hide
As He walked, He made no sound
And never broke his stride
Folks say he was part Cherokee
Others say, part Crow
There wasn't any clarity
There was no way to know
He wore a shiny locket
On the inside of his shirt
That he took out of the pocket
Of a dead Comanche’s' skirt
The feather in his hat
Made the white folk all take notice
And on his belt a sack
With an ancient Aztec Poultice
The myth, was he knew magic
Taught by spirits raised by Shamans
And because His birth was tragic
He was thought to be a Demon
As he passed through our town
The People, looked away
Afraid of being cursed
They where glad he didn't stay
The sun sank in the East
As the wind blew from the West
And he walked in a straight line
Like a man bent on a quest
He climbed up to the foothills
Where the Injuns made their graves
There he raised them from the dead
As he made them all his slaves
No one knew his purpose
For the dead upon that mound
Not at least, until that day
He came back to this town
A single soldier stayed
To guard against the animal
From digging up the grave
He felt awful for the Injuns
Disgusted by their plight
So from his bag he took a chalk
And upon a stone, did write
These Injuns lie beneath this land
Through no fault of their own
Their only crime, was to take stand
And defend their rightful home
It’s been 12 years since that day
Now the wind blew from the east
A strange scent in the air
Which frighten, all the beast
And with the wind came sickness
A plague upon the town
It left the people, weak and feeble
As the virus spread around
But I alone stayed well
And never once felt ill
But at the edge of town
What I saw gave me a chill
He wore feathers in his hat
And a cloak made of rawhide
But he didn't have his gun
Just a pouch tied to his side
He made his way, straight to me
As I stood there on the walk
Then using broken English
He began to talk
He said that in his sack
There contained an ancient cure
That could make the town's folk free
From all that they've endured
To be continued
As I walk from the dark days of my life..
I leave a pass behind in my life...Days of partying
and drinking and doing drugs...And chasing women....
are gone..And being angry at the world is gone.....
I guess being a rebel comes age+wisdom...
and a time to slow down and having a family is more
important ..The days of hell raising are gone and
lighted days are here..time and memories are that's
all that is left....The dark days are gone...Man it is hard
But she would not even read it – she knew what lay within—
A red rage toward her country now the fire that was her friend.
Yet just a few days later on a now black Christmas Eve—
Another knock was heard from a cowboy come home on leave.
And Jim Blue Moon stood on the porch with presents in one arm,
A proof against dark forces wishing all of us great harm.
He said like Twain, news of his death was exaggerated—
And with smiles his wife helped him in, and they celebrated.
Yet in the haze of happiness and all her loving care,
Only now did Liz realize Blue’s left arm was not there.
But snatching life from death’s dark rider is a precious thing,
And nothing could dispel the joy their reunion would bring.
Then came the new Christmas day, which now seemed so clear and bright—
Yet Blue held back - flexed his cold metal arm in morning light.
“I wonder if it was worth it?” Blue mumbled at the sight—
But Liz nodded and said: “Yes, you did the thing that was right.”
Then they slowly opened presents - three united again—
Later dad and mom came over, and each rodeo friend.
“PBR’s done,” dad whispered in a voice like from the grave—
“Heck no!” Blue then replied, “I just lost the arm that I wave!”
Sure enough, with prosthetic arm, Blue rode the bulls once more—
Till he volunteered to go back to that faraway shore.
Alone, Jim’s wife held their child and the inner one so new—
As a full, pale Christmas moon rose and slowly turned to blue.