THOSE WHO COME BEHIND
by Jack Sammon
Have you tried to write an honest word
Something that you hope will rhyme
Just a few lines no one else has heard
From someone who comes behind
If you write about the bush or land
(Perhaps that’s all you know)
Then you hope that folks will understand
And not say “That sounds like so and so”
But you dare not mention horsemen bold
Or the “clink of hobble chain”
Nor of nights spent camping in the cold
For they’ve heard that, once again
Of flood and fire or the blazing sun
They’ve read all that you’ll find
And you’ll remind them of someone
Yes, it’s hard to come behind
But our stories of the rolling plain
Of wild bulls and Brumby hunt
We see and live those things again
Just like those, who went in front
For we do not try to imitate
The great writers from the past
But the songs and stories we relate
Are with us yet, and still last
And when we write of “Further out”
To paint a picture strive
We’ve lived the life we write about
For the West is still alive
© 2017, Jack Sammon, used with permission
Popular Australian cowboy, miner, stock whip braider, and poet Jack Sammon was born and raised on large cattle stations in Queensland. He tells in his bio at CowboyPoetry.com, “I went to work as a stockman (cowboy) working on stations and droving all over the north…After a few years knocking about I started as a boss drover (trail boss) as I contracted to move cattle from place to place on the hoof, at times doing droving trips (trail drives) of up to a thousand miles, just as they did in the U.S. in the days of the wild west.
“The trouble was that the twentieth century was catching up to us, as roads were being built so that trucks could get out to the stations and pick up cattle.
“The trips that would take us months to cover the trucks could now do in a day or two, so as a result drovers like myself were out of work, so I had to give up the life and get a job in town in 1979, as a miner working underground, an era was over.”
A poet and storyteller who cares deeply about quality, Jack is a popular performer who has made frequent appearances at the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering and at the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Rod Miller has a recent blog post about Jack Sammon at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
This photo is courtesy of Jack Sammon.
Find more poetry and more about Jack Sammon at CowboyPoetry.com.