THE TIME TO DECIDE
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)
Did you ever stand on the ledges,
On the brink of the great plateau
And look from their jagged edges
On the country that lay below?
When your vision met no resistance
And nothing to stop your gaze,
Till the mountain peaks in the distance
Stood wrapped in a purple haze.
On the winding water courses
And the trails on the mountain sides,
Where you guided your patient horses
On your long and lonesome rides.
When you saw Earth’s open pages
And you seemed to understand
As you gazed on the work of ages,
Rugged and rough, but grand.
There, the things that you thought were strongest
And the things that you thought were great,
And for which you had striven longest
Seemed to carry but little weight.
While the things that were always nearer,
The things that you thought were small;
Seemed to stand out grander and clearer.
As you looked from the mountain wall.
While you’re gazing on such a vision
And your outlook is clear and wide,
If you have to make a decision,
That’s the time and place to decide
Although you return to the city
And mingle again with the throng;
Though your heart may be softened by pity
Or bitter from strife and wrong.
Though others should laugh in derision,
And the voice of the past grow dim;
Yet, stick to the cool decision
That you made on the mountain’s rim.
…by Bruce Kiskaddon
Let’s make this “Kiskaddon Week.”
This beautiful photograph by Texas singer and songwriter Jean Prescott seems a perfect fit to Bruce Kiskaddon’s poem. The image is one of several that Jean shared in a past Picture the West at CowboyPoetry.com.
The photos were taken at workshops with the late David R. Stoecklein. Jean comments on this one, “This was taken at a workshop in Mackay, Idaho in July of 2013. It was a spectacular evening for photos and we were high on the top ridge of the mountain range.”
“The Time to Decide” appeared in Bruce Kiskaddon’s first book, Rhymes of the Ranges, published in 1924. He wrote many poems still read and recited today. See features about him at CowboyPoetry.com.
(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post. The poem is in the public domain. Please request permission from Jean Prescott for any other use of the photograph.)