AIN’T A HERMIT
by Floyd Beard
Well now I ain’t no real recluse,
hermit ain’t my real excuse,
but neighbors they are sparse where I come from.
I often sit and talk a spell
but a poet said it well.
I like folks best when they are scattered some.
So let my story now unwind,
build a picture in your mind
of canyon land, that’s rugged, vast and free.
Where broken canyons braid for miles,
mountain peaks stack up in piles;
A torn and arid range is what you’ll see.
There I awake and stretch and yawn
and I ride out on the dawn
where prairies melt into the canyons deep.
A bunch of cattle I find there
in the cool crisp morning air,
On gramma grass around a canyon seep.
Melodic spurs, steel shoes on rock
softly sing out as we walk
‘Neath sandstone cliffs that beetle way up high.
The prickly pear are in full bloom
where the ponderosa loom,
In stark contrast against an azure sky.
Near noon I pass a basin pool
of fresh water clear and cool.
‘Neath pines the cattle shade up from the sun.
I sit and lean against a tree
pony hobbled grazing free.
My canyon cafe’s charm is next to none.
I catch my pony, cinch my kack,
settle down upon his back.
My circle still has lots of miles to go.
Around a bend I stop and see,
a big mulie watching me.
He bounces off a makin’ quite a show.
Through rocks and brush on trail so dim,
upward to the canyon rim,
My pony and a good dog by my side.
We pause atop the sandstone cliffs
and enjoy the fragrant whiffs
of sagebrush as we gaze on vistas wide.
Now cross’t the mesa I ride out,
Salt and water on my route.
The grass is green, the mill is pumping free.
Shore, we could use a soaking rain.
But you won’t hear me complain,
With grass and water, I’ll just let’er be.
A large crevasse defines the trail,
down through boulders, brush and shale
We wind our way back to the canyon floor.
Passed by an old homesteader’s shack,
weathered walls now sag and crack,
A vestige of their dreams held long before.
I rein my pony toward home,
turning loose my thoughts to roam
O’re morning trails and canyon coves of rest.
Storm clouds build high o’re canyon brow
so we hit a long trot now
To hustle to the barn shore might be best.
Back on my ranch house porch I stand
cup of coffee in my hand.
I’m lost in thought and thunder from above.
My collie cowers ‘neath my feet,
rain washed breezes smell so sweet,
Revival to the country that I love.
Well like I said back at the start,
ain’t a hermit in my heart
though I live out where the land is vast and free.
I love my friends and all their ways
but I’m most at home those days
in the saddle, just my pony, dog and me.
© 2016, Floyd Beard, used with permission
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission
Colorado rancher Floyd Beard’s poem was recently chosen for a Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. He was named the Western Music Association’s top Male Poet in 2016.
Floyd tells us, “‘Ain’t a Hermit’ is written about making a circle in the canyons of Southeast Colorado near the Dry Cimarron where we run cattle with our family. The area is an arid and rugged canyon country. Each of the stanzas with their descriptive language are sights that we experience while out riding and checking cattle. I hope that you enjoy riding along and making a circle with me.”
Floyd acknowledges that the line in the poem, “I like folks best when they are scattered some.” is a reference to Badger Clark’s, “The Old Cowman.”
This photo, by Valerie Beard, is of Floyd Beard and his notable mustache. Below are some photos of Floyd Beard’s country.
Floyd Beard’s recent CD is Short Grass Country (and it includes this poem).