Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Wedding Braid

As you two lovingly lay
The strands of your lives over each other,
Plait a life intertwined,
Coils reach back to misty ancient past
Curling around families, through lands, from cultures that spawned you.
Sends tendrils to the dawns ahead.
Flow out and back to circle through,
Touch and separate, wind and roll,
Bind and release.
Two souls twist and knit a continuum.
Mutual participants.
Hanks of who you each are
Wreathe together in sweet simplicity.
Today this congregation of like-minded hearts
Weaves with you a celebration.
The endless braid of a marriage
Well laid

(For Isaac and Kristi)

No Step for a Stepper

Dad taught me how to swing a rope and
Step on colts
How to eat a slicker-full, cowboy style
Tomatoes, peaches canned and sardines
With a pocket knife
He taught me ways that cattle work
When to push and when to hold
And where to look
He taught me pride and built me strong and he
Tried to teach me

When I jumped wrong, shied back when I should've run--
Or didn't know
He was there with a hand for my shoulder

When the baby came, but the daddy didn't, I went home
Young and scared
Mama hugged me, held me hard and told him for me

I didn't know, but
Daddy looked at me, "What will you do?"
I said, "I'll keep it"
Dad said, "Good"
And put his hand on my shoulder

When the Governor called and I became the Chair of the Board
Too young and scared, I didn't think I had it in me
But Daddy smiled, said, "Just start stepping"
Put his hand on my shoulder
And I knew I could

When I married wrong, but didn't know
He held his tongue, and stood by me

Delighted in his grandchildren
When the fourth one died unborn, but whole
He saved my soul, just looked at me
Smiled sad and slow
And put his hand on my shoulder

When Grandad died--the family's memories mine to say
The tribute for an honored man, deep-loved by many
I didn't know if I had it in me
Dad's hand on my shoulder, and his eyes of pride
Knew that I could
And so did I

To the very end when times are hard
When I don't know
I'll look within to find my Dad
To see those eyes and feel that hand
And know I can

To the very end I'll always hear
Those Daddy words of his
As the challenge comes
When the road gets rough or disappears
When the tests are tough
With that hand on my shoulder
That flash of eye, that cocky grin
And those words from him--

"Hell it ain't no Step...for a Stepper"
And he shows the way
So I can set to Stepping

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Timothy Draw

We pause at the top of Timothy Draw
Look down the country for stray cows
He cocks his head
Stands in the stirrups
Hands on the horn
Relaxed and easy and graceful
He moves with a horse
Like few men can

In one brief, quick space
I love him more
Than I will ever love again

Like passion, but not of sex
Like life without death
Like the nudge and the tug and the sleepy smile
Of a too-full child at your still-full breast
Something that explodes from your toes
But flows through your bones
Like warm honey

More powerful than violence

                           Far too

                            . . . Good

                            To speak of

Lead Mare

My mother, Myrt Wallis on Huckleberry with my sister Dorisann.

That woman there
She can be a lead mare
Has watched horses so long
And so well she can tell what goes on
In their minds

It's that high-thrown head
How she holds her shoulders
Watch...she'll kinda hunch then
Throw her weight in ways
Unseen by us, but understood
By the saddle bunch.

Once she tried it in Kentucky
That lead mare bit
And it worked there, too
At one of those fancy outfits
White board fences
Blooded thoroughbreds
She slipped away from the crowd
Stood quiet, moved her body
And they all quit grazing
Tossed her head
And they all came to her
Just like they do

At the ranch.