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The Married Man

  There's an old pard of mine that sits by his door
    And watches the evenin' skies.
  He's sat there a thousand of evenin's before
    And I reckon he will till he dies.
  El pobre! I reckon he will till he dies,
    And hear through the dim, quiet air
  Far cattle that call and the crickets that cheep
  And his woman a-singin' a kid to sleep
    And the creak of her rockabye chair.

  Once we made camp where the last light would fail
    And the east wasn't white till we'd start,
  But now he is deaf to the call of the trail
    And the song of the restless heart.
  El pobre! the song of the restless heart
    That you hear in the wind from the dawn!
  He's left it, with all the good, free-footed things,
  For a slow little song that a tired woman sings
    And a smoke when his dry day is gone.

  I've rode in and told him of lands that were strange,
    Where I'd drifted from glory to dread.
  He'd tell me the news of his little old range
    And the cute things his kids had said!
  El pobre! the cute things his kids had said!
    And the way six-year Billy could ride!
  And the dark would creep in from the gray chaparral
  And the woman would hum, while I pitied my pal
    And thought of him like he had died.

  He rides in old circles and looks at old sights
    And his life is as flat as a pond.
  He loves the old skyline he watches of nights
    And he don't seem to care for beyond.
  El pobre! he don't seem to dream of beyond,
    Nor the room he could find, there, for joy.
  "Ain't you ever oneasy?" says I one day.
  But he only just smiled in a pityin' way
    While he braided a quirt for his boy.

  He preaches that I orter fold up my wings
    And that even wild geese find a nest.
  That "woman" and "wimmen" are different things
    And a saddle nap isn't a rest.
  El pobre! he's more for the shade and the rest
    And he's less for the wind and the fight,
  Yet out in strange hills, when the blue shadows rise
  And I'm tired from the wind and the sun in my eyes,
    I wonder, sometimes, if he's right.

  I've courted the wind and I've followed her free
    From the snows that the low stars have kissed
  To the heave and the dip of the wavy old sea,
    Yet I reckon there's somethin' I've missed.
  El pobre! Yes, mebbe there's somethin' I've missed,
    And it mebbe is more than I've won--
  Just a door that's my own, while the cool shadows creep,
  And a woman a-singin' my kid to sleep
    When I'm tired from the wind and the sun.

Poem by Badger Clark
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