Even Cowboys Cry
By Cris Paravicini
"Twas the heart of the night when a cry stirred the dark,
From the bundle held snug in her arms.
And the young mother vowed to do what she could,
To keep her young child from harm.
One hand stroked a pup as it moved to her side,
He whimpered, then nuzzled her son.
"You rascal," she said, "better rest while you can,
Lots to do 'fore the morrow is done."
Now, they're four years old and always they play,
Together, the folks pride and joy.
With a mimicking whoop they lope 'round the yard,
The stickhorse, the dog, and the boy.
And when the stickhorse stumbles and falls to the ground,
To the end the young cowboy rides.
Then lifting his eyes, he howls to the moon,
'Cause at four the pain's hard to hide.
At eight years old his white pony bucks;
Once more he furrows the dirt.
The dog licks his face while Mom dusts his hat,
And a tear is wiped on his shirt.
A crimson sunset in the fifteenth year,
Saw the cowboy, old dog, and a lass.
She squeezed tight his hand; frail dog licked his cheek,
One last time as life came to pass.
Anguished sobs could be heard over meadow and stream,
Near the cow herd, the mountains, and pine.
For the dog was his comrade, his partner, his pal,
From their birth, everyday, till this time.
It's a decade plus ten and the range seems to sing;
Our cowboy is coming of age.
Tears fill his eyes as kind lass takes his name,
And their love writes the next history page.
Through thirty-and-some, the good years rolled by,
Three babies and nature played fair.
The cattle were fat and the streams ran bank-full,
Happy tears and glad cheer filled the air.
When our cowboy's fortieth birthday was near,
Ill-fortune shadowed the land.
The weight of bad luck tried to crumple the man;
Tall and proud, it was so hard to stand.
And the faithful, gray horse that he rode across time,
Broke his leg in mysterious way.
And as cow prices fell in rhythm with tears,
The drought took its toll on his hay.
Like the workteam he'd lost to a strange, equine flu,
Tired family pulled more than its share.
In his fiftieth year, his last parent died,
Who promised this life would be fair?
They should've been called the glory years,
As he entered his sixth decade,
But, the government ruled "for-the-good-of-mankind,"
And it took the existence he'd made.
When eighty-one winters had come and gone,
For the lass who had dried every tear,
She followed his dog and his horse to the stars,
To abide with the ones he holds dear.
Now, in memory he dwells with his boyhood and pup,
And his mate with the strawberry lock;
And the promise God made many centuries ago,
That once more, side by side, they'd all walk.
All the years washed with waters of sadness and joy,
Strong currents of life, low and high.
And mighty the man from whom teardrops fall,
Yes, even the cowboy will cry.